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The Original Science of Self-Improvement 
and Success that Has Changed the 
Lives of 30 Million People 


MAXWELL MALTZ, M.D., F.LC.S. 

EDITED AND UPDATED BY DAN S. KENNEDY AND 
THE PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS FOUNDATION, INC. 




m 


TST A member of Penguin Put 
375 Hudson Street 
New York, New York 10014 

www.penguinputnam.com 


Copyright © 2001 by Penguin Putnam Inc. 

Prentice Hall® is a registered trademark of Pearson Education, Inc. 

Cover art: Original watercolor by Salvador Dali used by permission of 
The New Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, Inc. 

Cover design by Nicola Evans 
Text design by Shelly Carlucci 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts thereof, 

may not be reproduced in any form without permission. 

Prentice Hall Press hardcover edition published 2001 
Prentice Hall Press trade paperback edition: December 2002 

The Library of Congress has catalogued the 
Prentice Hall Press hardcover edition as follows: 

Maltz, Maxwell, 1899-1975. 

The new psycho-cybernetics: the original science of self-improvement and success that 
has changed the lives of 30 million people / by Maxwell Maltz : edited and updated by 
Dan S. Kennedy and the Psycho-Cybemetics Foundation, Inc. 
p. cm. * 

Rev. ed. of : Psycho-cybernetics. 

Includes index. 

ISBN 0-7352-0275-3 

1. Success — Psychological aspects. I. Kennedy, Dan S., 1954. II. Maltz, Maxwell, 
1899-1975. Psycho-Cybemetics. III. Psycho-Cybernetic Foundation. IV. Title. 

BF637.S8 M25 2001 

158.1— dc21 2001036799 


Printed in the United States of America 


“ Psycho-Cybernetics changed my destiny. From a small farm- 
house nearly 2 miles from a major road in Chucketauck, 
Virginia, to a successful career as an author, consultant, lec- 
turer to organizations like NASA, Disney, AT&T . . . Dr. 
Maltz’s suggestions gave me the confidence to bring out my 
talents and go for my dreams.” 

— L ee Milteer, author, Success Is An Inside Job 

“I was flunking out of college when I first read Psycho- 
Cybernetics, and it literally turned my life around.” 

— Marshall Reddick, Ph.D. 


The late Dr. MAXWELL MALTZ received his doctorate in 
medicine from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of 
Columbia University. After post-graduate work in plastic 
surgery in Europe, Dr. Maltz headed several departments of 
reparative surgery in New York hospitals. He was a prominent 
international lecturer on the physical and psychological 
aspects of plastic surgery, and published two books oh these 
subjects: New Faces, New Futures and Dr. Pygmalion. The orig- 
inal ideas that formed the basis of Psycho-Cybernetics grew out 
of ideas he developed in his very successful private practice in 
New York, where he treated patients from all over the world, 
including many celebrities. 

DAN S. KENNEDY is a marketing consultant, popular pro- 
fessional speaker, and author of nine books. He is the CEO of 
the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation and author of The New 
Psycho-Cybernetics audio program. 



Contents 


Introduction xi 

Chapter One 

The Self-Image: 

Your Key to Living Without Limits 1 

Chapter Two 

How to Awaken the Automatic Success 
Mechanism Within You 25 

Chapter Three 

Imagination — The Ignition Key to Your 
Automatic Success Mechanism ■ 43 

Chapter Four 

How to De-Hypnotize Yourself 

from False Beliefs 69 

Chapter Five 

How to Succeed with the Power 

of Rational Thinking 82 

Chapter Six 

How to Relax and Let Your Automatic 
Success Mechanism Work for You 101 



vi Contents 


Chapter Seven 

You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 117 

Chapter Eight 

Ingredients of the “Success-type” Personality 
and How to Acquire Them 134 

Chapter Nine 

How to Avoid Accidentally Activating 
Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 155 

Chapter Ten 

How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give 
Yourself an Emotional Face Lift 180 

Chapter Eleven: 

How to Unlock Your Real Personality 203 

Chapter Twelve: 

Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers that Bring Peace of Mind 224 

Chapter Thirteen: 

How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 243 

Chapter Fourteen: 

How to Get and Keep “That Winning Feeling” 261 



Contents vii 

Chapter Fifteen: 

More Years of Life and More Life in Your Years 280 

Chapter Sixteen: 

True Stories of Lives Changed Using Psycho-Cybernetics 

The Case of the Least-Likely-to-Succeed Stockbroker. . . . 297 

The Case of the Professor’s “F” 299 

The Case of the Alcoholic’s Daughter 300 

The Case of the Rodeo Cowboys 301 

The Case of the Woman Who Could Not Walk 303 

Vocabulary. . . 307 

Recommended Reading 309 

Additional Resources 311 

About the Authors 313 

The Artist's Gift 315 

Index 317 



Acknowledgments 


The Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation’s founding board members: 
William Brooks 
Matt Oeschsli 
Jeff Paul 

Jeff Herman, the Foundation’s hard-working literary agent, Eugene 
Brissie and Ellen Schneid Coleman at Prentice Hall Press, who have 
been consistently and enthusiastically supportive of the “renaissance” 
of Dr. Maltz’s works. 



Introduction 



m he year 2000 was the 40th anniversary of the 
-X. publication of Dr. Maltz’s original Psycho- 
Cybernetics. The book has sold over 30 million copies in all of its dif- 
ferent editions worldwide, inspired a number of audio cassette 
programs for individuals as well as complete training programs cre- 
ated for corporations, sales organizations, even sports teams. In the 
2000 Olympics, for example, the coach of the U.S. equestrian team 
used Psycho-Cybernetics techniques, as she has with other teams for 
many years. 

In many ways, Psycho-Cybernetics is the original science of self- 
improvement. I make that statement for three principal reasons: 

First, Dr. Maltz was the first researcher and author to under- 
stand and explain how the self-image (a term he popularized for cer- 
tain processes within the subconscious mind) has complete control over 
an individual’s ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) any goal. 

Second, everything written, said, recorded or taught about self- 
improvement since Maltz wrote has derived from his work. Try and 
find any book on success or self-improvement written since 1960, 
right through to yesterday, that does not include a discussion of self- 
image and the techniques for improving and managing it — notably 
including visualization, mental rehearsal, and relaxation — and you’ll 
realize how crucial the work of Maltz still is. The relatively young 
“science” of sports psychology, relied on heavily by professional 
golfers, sports franchises, coaches, and Olympians, owes an enormous 
debt, occasionally acknowledged, to Psycho-Cybernetics.. 

Third, unlike philosophical musings about success, Psycho- 
Cybernetics is, in fact, scientific: It provides practical things to do (not 
just think about), that yield quantifiable results. What is unique about 
Psycho-Cybernetics is that it offers techniques that help make what- 
ever was once difficult easy. 

In short, whether you set out to lose weight and keep it off, 
lower your golf score, double your income in selling, become a confi- 
dent public speaker, write the great American novel, or achieve any 
other imaginable goal, in order to succeed, you will use Psycho- 
Cybernetics techniques, either direcdy from Dr. Maltz or some other 



xii Introduction 


source influenced by his work. By acquiring this book, you have gone 
to the first and still foremost source. 

It is significant that, with very little publicity or marketing, the 
original Psycho-Cybernetics book has had such amazing longevity, and 
is now a classic in its field. Today, just as ten, twenty, and thirty years 
ago, sales managers tell recruits, coaches tell athletes, consultants tell 
clients: Get and read this book. 

Now I dare to update the classic. In doing so, I have set out to 
preserve much of the original content; much of it, in fact, is 
unchanged; some has been modestly updated in language or example. 
To integrate it with other works of Dr. Maltz, I have added my own 
observations and lessons learned from teaching Psycho-Cybernetics 
techniques along with examples and stories submitted by many users 
of these techniques and culled from others’ books referencing these 
techniques. Throughout, I have tried to maintain Maltz’s original 
voice. Over the years since 1960, Dr. Maltz and those who followed 
him devoted increasing emphasis to translating the principles and 
concepts of Psycho-Cybernetics into actual, practical “mental train- 
ing exercises,” and I’ve included a number of those as well. All things 
combined, this is the most complete Psycho-Cybernetics work ever 
published. 


* * 


* 


My own experiences with Psycho-Cybernetics began in child- 
hood, when I used it to conquer a stubborn, rather severe stuttering 
problem. I’ve gone on to enjoy a 20-year career as a professional 
speaker, in recent years addressing audiences as large as 35,000 and, in 
total, over 200,000 people annually. In adult life, I returned repeatedly 
to these techniques in my sales, consulting, and business activities, to 
assist me in my prolific writing career — nine published books, a 
monthly newsletter, over 50 different audio cassette programs, and as 
an advertising copywriter, my primary vocation. 

For example, using Psycho-Cybernetics, I am able to give my 
subconscious mind certain instructions and put it to work on a writ- 
ing assignment before going to sleep at night or taking a nap, wake 
up, instantly put fingers to keyboard and “download,” pour out what 
the subconscious wrote while I slept. Not long ago, I climbed into a 



Introduction xiii 


sulky and became a harness racing driver (at age 46), and found myself 
relying heavily on Psycho-Cybernetics. 

In my business life, I have worked with many millionaire and 
multimillionaire entrepreneurs, including some who have risen from 
poverty or financial disaster and others who have started from scratch 
and rapidly built empires. Most of them use these techniques. Many 
trace their understanding of them directly to Dr. Maltz, as I do. 

I first began working directly with Psycho-Cybernetics as a 
writer, editor, and publisher in the late 1980s. At the time, I worked 
with Dr. Maltz’s widow, Anne Maltz, and a university associated with 
her, to develop a collection of audio tapes featuring Dr. Maltz’s lec- 
tures, radio broadcasts, and interviews. Since then, I’ve been directly 
involved in the first book ever written featuring Psycho-Cybernetics 
specifically for salespeople, titled Zero Resistance Selling , an audio pro- 
gram The New Psycho-Cybernetics, book-on-tape programs, a 12 -week 
home study course, and a monthly newsletter as well as special edi- 
tions of programs for certain professions, industries, corporations, 
and international translation. 

My point is that I’ve lived and worked with — and benefited 
from — Psycho-Cybernetics my entire life. I was told by Anne Maltz 
that she had difficulty telling my writing on this subject apart from 
her late husband’s. That was an enormous compliment. I hope she was 
right, and that this expanded and updated version of the original 
comes across to you seamlessly, in one voice, Dr. Maltz’s, as if he were 
here to prepare it himself. 

If you have comments, I would enjoy hearing from you via fax at 
602-269-3113, or mail c/o The Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, 
5818 N. 7th Street, Suite #103, Phoenix, AZ 85014. If you would like 
to read back issues of the Foundation’s newsletters, you may access 
them at www.psycho-cybernetics.com. 

I sincerely believe that you hold in your hands one of the most 
powerful tools for self-improvement and goal achievement available 
anywhere, at any time, at any price. It has been my privilege to have 
a small part in bringing it to you. 


Dan S. Kennedy 



CHAPTER ONE 


The Self-Image: Your Key to 
Living Without Limits 

Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those 
who dared believe that something inside them 
was superior to circumstance. 

— Bruce Barton 


/ I revolution in psychology began in the late 
JL 1960s and exploded in the 1970s. When I 
wrote the first edition of Psycho-Cybernetics in 1960, I was at the 
forefront of a sweeping change in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, 
and medicine. New theories and concepts concerning the “self’ began 
emerging from the work and findings of clinical psychologists, prac- 
ticing psychiatrists, and even cosmetic or so-called “plastic surgeons” 
like myself. New methods growing out of these findings resulted in 
dramatic changes in personality, in health, and even in basic abilities 
and talents. Chronic failures became successful. “F” students changed 
into “straight A” pupils with no extra tutoring. Shy, retiring, inhibited 
personalities became happy and outgoing. At the time, I was quoted 
in the January 1959 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine , in which T. F. 
James summarized these results obtained by various psychologists and 
MDs as follows: 


Understanding the psychology of the self can mean the differ- 
ence between success and failure, love and hate, bitterness and happi- 
ness. The discovery of the real self can rescue a crumbling marriage, 
recreate a faltering career, transform victims of “personality failure.” 
On another plane, discovering your real self means the difference 
between freedom and the compulsions of conformity. 


1 



2 Chapter One 


This was barely predictive of everything that has occurred in the 
four decades that followed. 

When Psycho-Cybernetics was first published, if you visited a 
bookstore to obtain a copy, you might have found it nestled on an 
obscure shelf with only a dozen or so other so-called “self-help” 
books. Today, of course, “self-help” is one of the largest sections in the 
entire bookstore. Psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists have pro- 
liferated, new specialists have emerged, such as sports psychologists 
and corporate performance coaches, and the stigma of seeking such 
help has disappeared to such an extent that in some circles doing so is 
trendy. Self-help psychology has become so popular it even has found 
a place in television infomercials! 


Once Difficult, Now Easy! 

I’m gratified that much of this modern explosion of ideas, informa- 
tion, and people to assist you with everything from conquering pro- 
crastination to shaving strokes off your golf score appears to be based 
on Psycho-Cybernetics. You might say that my original work was 
ahead of its time, or you might say that it has aged well. Whatever you 
conclude, the most important thing for you, personally, is that the fun- 
damental promise of Psycho-Cybernetics has been proven true 
beyond any doubt or argument — that is, “once difficult, now easy.” 
Whatever is now difficult for you, whatever may have prompted your 
reading of this book, can be transformed from difficult to easy through 
the use of certain sound psychological concepts, easily understood and 
mastered mental training techniques, and a few practical steps. 


Your Secret Blueprint 

I would argue that the most important psychological discovery of 
modern times is the discovery of the self-image. By understanding 
your self-image and by learning to modify it and manage it to suit your 
purposes, you gain incredible confidence and power. 

Whether we realize it or not, each of us carries within us a men- 
tal blueprint or picture of ourselves. It may be vague and ill-defined to 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 3 


our conscious gaze. In fact, it may not be consciously recognizable at 
all. But it is there, complete down to the last detail. This self-image is 
our own conception of the “sort of person I am.” It has been built up 
from our own beliefs about ourselves. Most of these beliefs about our- 
selves have unconsciously been formed from our past experiences, our 
successes and failures, our humiliations, our triumphs, and the way 
other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood. From all 
these we mentally construct a self (or a picture of a self). Once an idea 
or a belief about ourselves goes into this picture it becomes “truth,” as 
far as we personally are concerned. We do not question its validity, but 
proceed to act upon it just as if it were true. 


The self-image then controls what you can and cannot 
accomplish, what is difficult or easy for you, even how others 
respond to you just as certainly and scientifically as a 
thermostat controls the temperature in your home. 


Specifically, all your actions, feelings, behavior, even your abili- 
ties, are always consistent with this self-image. Note the word: always. 
In short, you will “act like” the sort of person you conceive yourself to 
be. More important, you literally cannot act otherwise, in spite of all 
your conscious efforts or willpower. (This is why trying to achieve 
something difficult with teeth gritted is a losing battle. Willpower is 
not the answer. Self-image management is.) 


' The Snap-Back Effect 

The person who has a “fat” self-image — whose self-image claims to 
have a “sweet tooth,” to be unable to resist “junk food,” who cannot 
find the time to exercise — will be unable to lose weight and keep it off 
no matter what he tries to do consciously in opposition to that self- 
image. You cannot long outperform or escape your self-image. If you 
do escape briefly, you’ll be “snapped back,” like a rubber band, 
extended between two fingers, coming loose from one. 



4 Chapter One 


The person who perceives himself to be a “failure type person” will 
find some way to fail, in spite of all his good intentions or his willpower, 
even if opportunity is literally dumped in his lap. The person who con- 
ceives himself to be a victim of injustice, one “who Was meant to suffer,” 
will invariably find circumstances to verify his opinions. 

You can insert any specific into this: your golf game, sales career, 
public speaking, weight loss, relationships. The control of your self- 
image is absolute and pervasive. The snapback effect is universal. 

The self-image is a “premise,” a base, or a foundation upon 
which your entire personality, your behavior, and even your circum- 
stances are built. As a result, our experiences seem to verify and 
thereby strengthen our self-images, and either a vicious or a benefi- 
cent cycle, as the case may be, is set up. 

For example, a student who sees himself as an “F”-type student, 
or one who is “dumb in mathematics,” will invariably find that his 
report card bears him out. He then has “proof.” In the same manner, 
a sales professional or an entrepreneur will also find that her actual 
experiences tend to “prove” that her self-image is correct. Whatever is 
difficult for you, whatever frustrations you have in your life, they are 
likely “proving” and reinforcing something ingrained in your self- 
image like a groove in a record. 

Because of this objective “proof,” it very seldom occurs to us that 
our trouble lies in our self-image or our own evaluation of ourselves. 
Tell the student that he only “thinks” he cannot master algebra, and he 
will doubt your sanity. He has tried and tried, and still his report card 
tells the story. Tell the sales agent that it is only an idea that she can- 
not earn more than a certain figure, and she can prove you wrong by 
her order book. She knows only too well how hard she has tried and 
failed. Yet, as we shall see, almost miraculous changes have occurred 
both in grades of students and the earning capacity of salespeople — 
once they were prevailed upon to change their self-images. 

Obviously, it’s not enough to say “it’s all in your head.” In fact, 
that’s insulting. It is more productive to explain that “it” is based on 
certain ingrained, possibly hidden patterns of thought that, if altered, 
will free you to tap more of your potential and experience vastly dif- 
ferent results. This brings me to the most important truth about the 
self-image: It can be changed. 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 5 


Numerous case histories have shown that you are never too young 
or too old to change your self-image and start to live a new, amazingly 
different life. 


Area of 
Possible 



Real Limits 


Self-Imposed 

Limits 


Area of 

Under-Utilized 

Potential 



This is what 
PEAK 

PERFORMANCE 
looks like! 


EDITOR'S NOTE: Here is another illustration of how the self-image operates. Picture us living 
inside two boxes. The line farthest out, the solid line, represents real or realistic limits. The dot- 
ted line, in the first drawing shown tightly confining Self, represents self-imposed limits. The 
area between the two is your area or range of under-utilized potential. As you discover the 
means of strengthening and liberating your self-image, you move the dotted line closer to the 
solid line, permitting greater use of your true potential. 


Success from the Inside Out, Not the Outside In 

One of the reasons it seems so difficult for a persoq to change habits, 
personality, or a way of life has been that nearly all efforts at change 
have been directed to the circumference of the self, so to speak, rather 
than to the center. 

Numerous patients have said to me something like the following: 
“If you are talking about ‘positive thinking,’ I’ve tried that before, and 
it just doesn’t work for me.” However, a little questioning invariably 
brings out that these individuals employed positive thinking, or 
attempted to employ it, either on particular external circumstances or 
on some particular habit or character defect (“I will get that job.” “I 
will be more calm and relaxed in the future.” “This business venture 
will turn out right for me.” And so on.) But they never thought to 
change their thinking of the self that was to accomplish these things. 

Jesus warned us about the folly of putting a patch of new mate- 
rial on an old garment or of putting new wine into old bottles. 
“Positive thinking” cannot be used effectively as a patch to the same 
old self- image. In fact, it is literally impossible to really think posi- 



6 Chapter One 


tively about a particular situation, as long as you hold a negative con- 
cept of self. Numerous experiments have shown that, once the concept 
of self is changed, other things consistent with the new concept of self 
are accomplished easily and without strain. 


A System of Ideas 

One of the earliest and most convincing experiments along this line 
was conducted by the late Prescott Lecky, one of the pioneers in self- 
image psychology. Lecky conceived of the personality as a system of 
ideas, all of which must be consistent with each other. Ideas that are 
inconsistent with the system are rejected, “not believed,” and not 
acted on. Ideas that seem to be consistent with the system are 
accepted. At the very center of this system of ideas — the keystone, or 
the base on which all else is built — is the individual’s self-image, or his 
conception of himself. 

Lecky was a school teacher and had an opportunity to test his 
theory on thousands of students. He theorized that if a student had 
trouble learning a certain subject, it could be because (from the stu- 
dent’s point of view) it would be inconsistent for him to learn it. Lecky 
believed, however, that if the student could be induced to change his 
self-definition, his learning ability should also change. 

This proved to be the case. One student, who misspelled 55 
words out of 100 and flunked so many subjects that he lost credit for 
a year, made a general average of 91 the next year and became one of 
the best spellers in school. A girl who was dropped from one college 
because of poor grades, entered Columbia and became a straight “A” 
student. A boy who was told by a testing bureau that he had no apti- 
tude for English won honorable mention the next year for a literary 
prize. 

The trouble with these students was not that they were dumb or 
lacking in basic aptitudes. The trouble was an inadequate self-image 
(“I don’t have a mathematical mind”; “I’m just naturally a poor 
speller”). They “identified” with their mistakes and failures. Instead of 
saying “I failed that test” (factual and descriptive), they concluded “I 
am a failure.” Instead of saying “I flunked that subject,” they said “I am 
a flunk-out.” (For those who are interested in learning more of 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 7 


Lecky’s work, try to find a copy of his book: Self Consistency, A Theory 
of Personality.) 

Lecky also used the same method to cure students of such habits 
as nail biting and stuttering. 

My own files contain case histories just as convincing: the woman 
who was so afraid of strangers that she seldom ventured out of the 
house and who now makes her living as a public speaker. The sales- 
man who had already prepared a letter of resignation because he “just 
wasn’t cut out for selling” and six months later was number one man 
on a force of one hundred salespeople. The minister who was consid- 
ering retirement because “nerves” and the pressure of preparing a ser- 
mon every week were getting him down, and who now delivers an 
average of three “outside talks” a week in addition to his weekly ser- 
mons and doesn’t know he has a nerve in his body. 

Following Dr. Lecky’s breakthrough thinking on this subject, 
bom from observation, as well as my own observations and thoughts 
chronicled in the earlier editions of this book, a mountain of more 
sophisticated scientific research and anecdotal evidence has led to the 
acceptance of the controlling self-image by most of the academic psy- 
chological community. 


How a Plastic Surgeon Became Interested in 
Self-Image Psychology: My Story 

Offhand, there would seem to be little or no connection between sur- 
gery and psychology. Yet, it was the work of the plastic surgeon that 
first hinted at the existence of the self-image and raised certain ques- 
tions that led to important psychological knowledge. 

When I first began the practice of plastic surgery many years ago, 
I was amazed by the dramatic and sudden changes in character and 
personality that often resulted when a facial defect was corrected. 
Changing the physical image in many instances appeared to create an 
entirely new person. In case after case, the scalpel that I held in my hand 
became a magic wand that transformed not only patients’ appearance, 
but their whole life. The shy and retiring became bold and coura- 
geous. A “stupid” boy changed into an alert, bright youngster who 
went on to become an executive with a prominent firm. A salesman 



8 Chapter One 


who had lost his touch and his faith in himself became a model of self- 
confidence. And perhaps the most startling of all was the habitual 
“hardened” criminal who changed almost overnight from an incorri- 
gible — who had never showed any desire to change — into a model 
prisoner, who won a parole and went on to assume a responsible role 
in society. 

Some sixty years ago I reported many such case histories in my 
book New Faces — New Futures, written more for my peers than the 
public. Following its publication, and similar articles in leading maga- 
zines, I was besieged with questions by criminologists, psychologists, 
sociologists, and psychiatrists. They asked questions that I could not 
answer, but they did start me on a search. Strangely enough, I learned 
as much from my failures as from my successes, if not more. 

It was easy to explain the successes. The boy with the too-big 
ears, who had been told that he looked like a taxi cab with both doors 
open, had been ridiculed all his life — often cruelly. Association with 
others meant humiliation and pain. Why shouldn’t he avoid social 
contacts? Why shouldn’t he become afraid of people and retire into 
himself? Terribly afraid to express himself in any way, he became 
known as “stupid.” When his ears were corrected, it would seem only 
natural that since the cause of his embarrassment and humiliation had 
been removed, he should assume a normal role in life, which he did. 

Or consider the salesman who suffered a facial disfigurement as 
the result of an automobile accident. Each morning when he shaved 
he could see the horrible disfiguring scar on hi$ cheek and the 
grotesque twist to his mouth. For the first time in his life he became 
painfully self-conscious. He was ashamed of himself and felt that his 
appearance must be repulsive to others. The scar became an obsession 
with him. He was “different” from other people. He began to wonder 
what others were thinking of him. Soon his self-image was even more 
mutilated than his face. He began to lose confidence in himself. He 
became bitter and hostile. Soon almost all his attention was directed 
toward himself, and his primary goal became the protection of his ego 
and the avoidance of situations that might bring humiliation. It is easy 
to understand how the correction of his facial disfigurement and the 
restoration of a “normal” face would overnight change this man’s 
entire attitude and outlook, his feelings about himself, resulting in 
greater success in his work. 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 9 


The mystery inspired me: If the scalpel was magic, 
why did some people who acquired new faces 
go right on wearing their old personalities? 


What about the exceptions, those who didn’t change? What 
about the Duchess who all her life had been terribly shy and self-con- 
scious because of a tremendous hump in her nose? Although surgery 
gave her a classic nose and a face that was truly beautiful, she contin- 
ued to act the part of the ugly duckling, the unwanted sister who could 
never bring herself to look another human being in the eye. If the 
scalpel itself was magic, why did it not work on the Duchess? 

Or what about all the others who acquired new faces but went 
right on wearing the same old personality? How to explain the reac- 
tion of people who insist that the surgery has made no difference what- 
ever in their appearance? Every plastic surgeon has had this experience 
and has probably been as baffled by it as I was. No matter how drastic 
the change in appearance may be, certain patients will insist that “I 
look just the same as before — you didn’t do a thing.” Friends, even 
family, may scarcely recognize them, may become enthusiastic over 
their newly acquired “beauty,” yet the patients themselves insist that 
they can see only slight or no improvement, or in fact deny that any 
change at all has been made. Comparison of before and after photo- 
graphs does little good, and may even arouse hostility. By some 
strange mental alchemy the patient will rationalize: “Of course, I can 
see that the hump is no longer in my nose — but my nose still looks just 
the same.” Or, “The scar may not show any more, but it’s still there.” 


Scars That Bring Pride Instead of Shame 

Still another clue in search of the elusive self-image is the fact that not 
all scars or disfigurements bring shame and humiliation. When I was 
a young medical student in Germany, I saw many a student proudly 
wearing his “saber scar,” much as an American might wear the Medal 
of Honor. The duelists were the elite of college society and a facial 
scar was the badge that proved you a member in good standing. To 
these boys, the acquisition of a horrible scar on the cheek had the same 





1 0 Chapter One 


psychologic effect as the eradication of the scar from the cheek of my 
salesman patient. I began to see that a knife itself held no magical 
powers. It could be used on one person to inflict a scar and on another 
to erase a scar with the same psychological results. 


The Mystery of Imaginary Ugliness 

To a person handicapped by a genuine congenital defect, or suffering 
an actual facial disfigurement as a result of an accident, plastic surgery 
can indeed seemingly perform magic. From such cases it would be 
easy to theorize that the cure-all for all neuroses, unhappiness, failure, 
fear, anxiety, and lack of self-confidence would be wholesale plastic 
surgery to remove all bodily defects. However, according to this the- 
ory, persons with normal or acceptable faces should be singularly free 
from all psychological handicaps. They should be cheerful, happy, 
self-confident, free from anxiety and worry. We know only too well 
this is not true. 

Nor can such a theory explain the people who visit the office of 
a cosmetic surgeon and demand a face lift to cure a purely imaginary 
ugliness. There are, for example, the 35- to 45-year-old women who 
are convinced that they look “old” even though their appearance is 
perfectly normal and in many cases unusually attractive. 

There are the young girls who are convinced that they are ugly 
merely because their mouth, nose, or bust measurement does not 
exactly match that of the currently reigning Hollywood celebrity, teen 
pop star, or the most popular girl in their school. There are men who 
believe that their ears are too big or their noses too long. 

Such imagined ugliness is not at all uncommon. Surveys of every- 
one from teenagers and college students to mature men and women 
consistently show high numbers — 70%, 80%, even 90% — dissatisfied 
in some way with their appearance. If the words “normal” or “average” 
mean anything at all, it is obvious that 90% of our population cannot 
be “abnormal” or “different” or “defective” in appearance. Yet surveys 
have shown that approximately the same percentage of our general 
population find some reason to be ashamed of their body image. 

Of course, in some cases, this becomes constructive dissatisfac- 
tion that motivates healthy weight loss and exercise. Many other 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 1 1 


times, though, it either stimulates attempts at weight loss or fitness 
doomed to failure (because of strong self-image-based restrictions) or 
simply cause people profound unhappiness. 

These people react just as if they suffered an actual disfigurement . ' 
They feel the same shame. They develop the same fears and anxieties. 
Their capacity to really “live” fully is blocked and choked by the same 
sort of psychologic roadblocks. Their “scars,” though mental and 
emotional rather than physical, are just as debilitating. 


Why Are the Rich and Powerful Unhappy? 

Why do the popular, successful, wealthy “beautiful people” of 
Hollywood, athletes awarded megamillion-dollar contracts and set for 
life, and enormously influential and powerful business or political 
leaders engage in amazingly unhappy and self-sabotaging acts of alco- 
hol or drug abuse and addiction, or in all manner of publicly humili- 
ating and destructive behavior? You see it reported everyday. 

“They’ve bought the BMW and they have the $3 -million Mill 
Valley house. And they still wake up in the morning and say ‘I don’t feel 
good about myself.’” That’s a quote from Dr. Stephen Goldbart, a psy- 
chologist treating many dot.com and tech industry millionaires in Silicon 
Valley for what is characterized as “undeserved wealth syndrome.” 

Wealth, success, power, and celebrity are no more guarantees of 
happiness and peace of mind than surgical improvement of some per- 
sonal appearance flaw. 


The Self-Image— The Real Secret 

Discovery of the self-image explains all the apparent discrepancies we 
have been discussing. It is the common denominator — the determining 
factor in all our case histories, the failures as well as the successes. 

The secret is this: To really live, that is to find life reasonably sat- 
isfying, you must have an adequate and realistic self-image that you 
can live with. You must find your self acceptable to you. You must have 
a wholesome self-esteem. You must have a self that you can trust and 
believe in. You must have a self that you are not ashamed to be, and 



1 2 Chapter One 


one that you can feel free to express creatively, rather than hide or 
cover up. You must know yourself — both your strengths and your 
weaknesses — and be honest with yourself concerning both. Your self- 
image must be a reasonable approximation of “you,” being neither 
more nor less than you are. 

When this self-image is intact and secure, you feel good. When 
it is threatened, you feel anxious and insecure. When it is adequate and 
one that you can be wholesomely proud of, you feel self-confident. 
You feel free to be yourself and to express yourself. You function at 
your optimum. When the self-image is an object of shame, you 
attempt to hide it rather than express it. Creative expression is 
blocked. You become hostile and hard to get along with. 

If a scar on the face enhances the self-image (as in the case of the 
German duelist), self-esteem and self-confidence are increased. If a 
scar on the face detracts from the self-image (as in the case of the 
salesman), loss of self-esteem and self-confidence result. 

When a facial disfigurement is corrected by plastic surgery, dra- 
matic psychologic changes result only if there is a corresponding cor- 
rection of the mutilated self-image. Sometimes the image of a 
disfigured self persists even after successful surgery, much the same as 
the “phantom limb” may continue to feel pain years after the physical 
arm or leg has been amputated. 


I Begin a New Career 

These observations led me into a new career. In 1 945 or so, I became 
definitively convinced that many of the people who consult a plastic 
surgeon need more than surgery and that some do not need surgery at 
all. If I were to treat these people as patients, as a whole person rather 
than as merely a nose, ear, mouth, arm or leg, I needed to be in a posi- 
tion to give them something more. I needed to be able to show them 
how to obtain a psychological, emotional, and spiritual face lift, how 
to remove emotional scars, how to channel their attitudes and 
thoughts as well as modify their physical appearance. 

This determination launched me on a continuing process of 
pointed observation, documenting my own case histories, lecturing 
both to peers and to the public, then writing this book, first published 
in 1960. This book caught the public’s imagination in a special way. It 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 1 3 


was excerpted in popular magazines including Reader’s Digest and 
Cosmopolitan , purchased by the thousands by corporations for their 
salespeople and other employees, adopted by top athletes, coaches and 
teams, including the Vince Lombardi-coached Green Bay Packers. Its 
success led quickly to many speaking engagements, seminar tours, 
radio and television interviews, even my own radio program. 
Invitations to speak about my discoveries came from churches, col- 
leges, and corporations. Ultimately, I also wrote several other books, 
extensions of this one, including The Magic Power of Self-Image. Late 
in my life, three decades after its first publication, I was gratified that 
Psycho-Cybernetics continues to sell tens of thousands of copies each 
year, almost entirely thanks to word-of-mouth recommendations, and 
is inspiring new interpretations. 

With each passing year, as I accumulated more experience teach- 
ing the power of self-image, counseling, and monitoring the results 
people achieved with'this information, I became more convinced than 
ever that what each of us really wants, deep down, is more life — some- 
thing I termed aliveness, the experience of living a life unrestricted by 
self-image-imposed, artificial limits. Happiness, success, peace of 
mind — whatever your own conception of supreme good may be — is 
experienced in its essence as more life. When we experience expansive 
emotions of happiness, self-confidence, and success, we enjoy more 
life. And to the degree that we inhibit our abilities, frustrate our God- 
given talents, and allow ourselves to suffer anxiety, fear, self-condem- 
nation and self-hate, we literally choke off the life force available to us 
and turn our back on the gift that our Creator has made. To the degree 
that we deny the gift of life, we embrace death. 


Your New Program for Liberated Living 

In my opinion, the professions of psychology and psychiatry are often 
far too pessimistic regarding people and their potential for self- 
directed change, even greatness. Since psychologists and psychiatrists 
deal with so-called “abnormal” people, the literature is almost exclu- 
sively taken up with various abnormalities, with some people’s ten- 
dencies toward self-destruction. Many people, I am afraid, have read 
so much of this type of viewpoint that they have come to regard such 
things as hatred, the destructive instinct, guilt, self-condemnation, and 



1 4 Chapter One 


all the other negatives as normal human behavior. Average persons 
feel awfully weak and impotent when they think of the prospect of pit- 
ting their puny will against these negative forces in human nature, in 
order to gain health and happiness. If this were a true picture of 
human nature and the human condition, self-improvement would 
indeed be a rather futile thing. 

However, I believe — and the experiences of my many patients 
have confirmed the fact — that you do not have to do the job alone. 
There is within each one of us a life instinct, which is forever working 
toward health, happiness, and all that makes for more life for the indi- 
vidual. This life instinct works for you through what I call the Creative 
Mechanism or, when used correctly, the Automatic Success 
Mechanism that is built into each human being. 

In this book, I will endeavor to give you very practical ideas and 
instructions for liberating your own self-image, fully activating your 
own Automatic Success Mechanism. If you will give all this a reason- 
able chance, I’m confident you too will be pleasantly amazed at all the 
positive changes you will experience. 


New Scientific Insights into the Subconscious Mind 

There is admittedly debate about the actual, structural makeup of the 
human mind. Crammed into your brain are more neurons than there 
are stars in the Milky Way, hundreds of billions of them — an unimag- 
inable number. Each of these neurons receives input from tens of 
thousands of the other neurons and sends messages to tens of thou- 
sands of others, adding up to over one million-billion connections. In 
his book about the brain, Bright Air, Brilliant Fire, neuroscientist 
Gerald Edelman speculated that if you were to attempt counting the 
links, one per second, you might finish 32 million years later. 

The operation is something roughly akin to your clicking on the 
“you’ve got mail” beeping icon on your computer and finding 10,000 
or 20,000 e-mail messages that require sorting, prioritizing, organiz- 
ing, and responding to, just to get everything right so that you can 
accomplish the first simple task of your day, such as tying your 
shoelaces. You would “melt down” at the prospect, but your brain han- 
dles it iri nanoseconds with aplomb. 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 1 5 


The brain is roughly three pounds, yet it contains the equivalent 
of entire cities full of giant buildings full of computer circuitry. It is 
surely the most complex and amazing thing we will ever discover. And 
it is still a frontier because research keeps uncovering new revelations 
about how the human mind operates. 

On top of the “mechanical” aspects, there are psychological and 
spiritual matters, the issue of mind as the pathway to the soul, the con- 
scious and subconscious, the Freudian concept of id, the idea of three 
operating systems rather than two (reptilian, limbic, and cerebral), left 
brain-right brain, and on and on. 

My take on all this has been criticized by some as simplistic. It’s 
possible that research continuing long after my departure will eventu- 
ally demonstrate that I’ve been partly right and partly wrong, and will 
produce even better insights into practical self-improvement. If and 
when that occurs, I’d applaud. But for now, let me just say that to you 
it shouldn’t matter much whether some professor of psychology with 
lots of letters after his name looks down his nose at what we are dis- 
cussing as oversimplistic. Let’s you and I focus on the most important 
point: what works. And I can assure you that what we are discussing 
here has worked for thousands and thousands and thousands of peo- 
ple, and will work for you. By “work” I mean empower you to get 
more of what you want out of life. 

My exploration of the science of cybernetics convinced me that 
the so-called “subconscious mind” is not a mind at all, but a goal-striv- 
ing servo-mechanism consisting of the brain and nervous system, which 
is used and directed by the mind. The most usable concept is that man 
does not have two minds, but rather a mind (or consciousness), which 
operates an automatic, goal-striving machine. This automatic, goal- 
striving machine functions in much the same way as electronic servo- 
mechanisms function, but it is much more marvelous, much more 
complex, than any electronic brain, computer, or guided missile ever 
conceived by man. 

The Creative Mechanism within you is impersonal. It will work 
automatically and impersonally to achieve goals of success and happi- 
ness, or unhappiness and failure, depending upon the goals you set for 
it. Present it with “success goals” and it functions as a “Success 
Mechanism.” Present it with negative goals, and it operates just as 
impersonally and just as faithfully as a “Failure Mechanism.” Like any 



1 6 Chapter One 


other servo-mechanism, it must have a clear-cut target, objective, or 
problem to work upon. 

In short, the goals you attempt to convey to this mechanism are 
filtered through the self-image, and if they are inconsistent with the 
self-image, they are rejected or modified. By discovering how to alter 
your self-image, you end its conflict with your goals. Then if you can 
communicate your goals directly to your Creative Mechanism, it will 
do what is necessary for you to achieve them. 

Like any other servo-mechanism, our Creative Mechanism uses 
the information and data that we feed into it (our thoughts, beliefs, 
interpretations). Through our attitudes and interpretations of situa- 
tions, we describe the problem to be worked on. 

If we feed information and data into our Creative Mechanism to 
the effect that we ourselves are unworthy, inferior, undeserving, inca- 
pable (negative self-image), this data is processed and acted on as any 
other data in giving us the “answer” in the form of objective experi- 
ence. When someone we know acts — or when we behave — in a way 
that is astoundingly “wrong” and wonder why, the answer is basically 
miscommunication with the servo-mechanism; the servo-mechanism 
is functioning perfectly but acting on a severe misunderstanding. 

In the excellent book Battling the Inner Dummy (ID ) — The 
Craziness of Apparently Normal People, David Weiner and Dr. Gilbert 
Hefter state, “It is apparent that even the most civilized among us have 
an inner craziness, a potential for irrationality with which we must 
contend.” The computer jargon, usually used by computer experts 
shrugging their shoulders at some wild malfunction, is GIGO — 
Garbage In, Garbage Out. In other words, if neuron channels process 
enough “garbage” and link together in a certain way, the outcome or 
output is “garbage behavior.” 

Like any other servo-mechanism, our Creative Mechanism 
makes use of stored information, or “memory,” in solving current 
problems and responding to current situations. Sometimes this 
“stored data” can remain in control long after any truth or usefulness 
has evaporated. Again quoting from Battling the Inner Dummy, this 
example: 

“You are no good, you will never amount to anything” we might be told 
by our father at the age of ten, after we just failed a math quiz in school. 

This is the land of statement that might become a limbic memory within 
our id, our Inner Dummy, and remain with us for years, if not for a life- 
time ...” 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 1 7 


The reason it would remain with us rather than just bounce off 
like water off a duck’s back is what they call limbic memory , or what I 
view only slighdy differently as self-image imprinting. This is most 
controlled by three factors: authoritative source, intensity, and repeti- 
tion. What we hear from a source we accept as authoritative — such as 
the father we see as omnipotent, from whom we desperately seek 
acceptance as a child — is given far more weight than the same state- 
ments if heard from what is to us at the time a less credible source. 
What we see, hear, or experience with intensity — such as the father 
yelling it at us, in front of others, making us humiliated — has added 
weight. And what we hear repetitively from authoritative sources has 
even more weight. Years after this “programming” has ceased, it may 
still be governing all sorts of behavior, because the servo-mechanism 
continues acting upon it as current. 

Your program for more liberated living consists in, first of all, 
learning something about this Creative Mechanism, or automatic 
guidance system within you. In the process, you will learn how to use 
it as a Success Mechanism, rather than as a Failure Mechanism. 
Second, you will actually “program,” and “reprogram,” or “engineer,” 
the personality and the life experiences you desire. 

It is not widely known, but the controversial Dr. Timothy Leary, 
a 1960s hippie icon but also a scientist, was as fascinated with the link 
between mechanical cybernetics and the workings of the human mind 
as I. In an interview in 1992, Leary stated, “It is a genetic imperative 
to explore the brain. Because it’s there. If you’re carrying around in 
your head 100 billion mainframe computers, you just have to get in 
there and learn how to operate them.” I think it is your personal 
imperative to invest the time, energy, and study needed to better 
understand and use your mind power, including your self-image 
power. 

He also said, “We can only understand our inner workings in 
terms of the external mechanical or tele-logical models that we build.” 
This program now in your hands is exacdy that: a path to greater 
understanding of your own mind, based on tele-logical models, such 
as guided missile and computer technologies. 

The method itself consists in learning , practicing , and experiencing 
new habits of thinking, imagining, remembering, and acting in order 
to (1) develop an adequate and realistic self-image and (2) use your 
Creative Mechanism to bring success and happiness in achieving par- 



1 8 Chapter One 


ticular goals. While the human mind is an endlessly complex creation, 
and while you could read hundreds of texts by neuroscientists and be 
no further along in improving your use of your own mind, self- 
improvement with Psycho-Cybernetics can be remarkably simple and 
it offers rapid results. 


If you can remember, worry, or tie your shoe, 
you can succeed with Psycho-Cybernetics! 


As you will see later, the method to be used consists of creative 
mental picturing, creatively experiencing through your imagination, 
and the formation of new automatic reaction patterns by “acting out” 
and “acting as if.” You may already have read or heard quite a bit about 
such techniques and tried them with mixed or disappointing results. If 
so, it does not necessarily mean that you used them improperly, nor 
does it mean that you are somehow unable to use them successfully. It 
more likely means that you attempted applying the techniques in con- 
flict with your self-image. Once you use them in concert with modi- 
fying, managing, and strengthening your self-image, you will see 
positive results. 

I often told my patients that “If you can remember, worry, or tie 
your shoe, you will have no trouble applying this method.” The things 
you are called upon to do are simple, but you must practice and “expe- 
rience.” Visualizing — creative mental picturing — is no more difficult 
than what you do when you remember a scene out of the past or worry 
about the future. Acting out new action patterns is no more difficult 
than “deciding,” then following through on tying your shoes in a new 
and different manner each morning, instead of continuing to tie them 
in your old habitual way, without thought or decision. 


All Those Who Have Benefited from 
Psyeho-Cyberneties 

You might be encouraged by a quick list of those who use these meth- 
ods exactly as I am going to describe them to you as we proceed 
through this book. 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 1 9 


Athletes 

Psycho-Cybernetics and athletes have long been linked. In 1967, the 
newspapers reported that “the big thing now with the Green Bay 
Packers is Psycho-Cybernetics.” This was the Vince Lombardi-era 
Packers, and Coach Lombardi, as well as famous players Jerry Kramer 
and Bart Starr, all carried their copies of the book with them and 
shared it with their teammates. A New York Times article from July 
1968 reported on Yankee great Mickey Mantle uncovering Jim 
Bouton’s copy of Psycho-Cybernetics and finding it full of handwritten 
margin notes. 

Jack Nicklaus, the late Payne Stewart, and many other top golfers 
have made very specific statements about their reliance on “the men- 
tal side of golf.” In a foreword to the book Mind over Golf, referring to 
his victories in the 1989 PGA Championship and the 1991 U.S. Open, 
Payne Stewart wrote, “With my old mind-set I don’t think I would 
have been able to prevail in either of those major championships. But 
with my new mental approach, I was able to raise my game to the 
highest level when I had to.” ( Mind over Golf incidentally, is written 
by Dr. Richard Coop, a professor of educational psychology at the 
University of North Carolina, a contributing editor to Golf Magazine, 
and a coach to many golfers. I recommend his book as a companion to 
this one, should golf be your recreation or vocation.) 

In this book, you will also discover rodeo riders, Olympic ath- 
letes, football players, and many coaches who rely on Psycho- 
Cybernetics strategies in general, or specifically by name, to succeed. 

Coaches 

In 1997, The Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation received a letter from 
Linda Tyler Rollins, assistant athletic director for academic affairs at 
the University of North Texas. She wrote that she had been teaching 
from Psycho-Cybernetics for years and that, in a course for incoming 
scholarship athletes, “the vocabulary they become accustomed to dur- 
ing their academic and athletic careers at UNT is based on the con- 
cepts presented by Dr. Maltz before these students were born!” 

A Boston psychologist now coaching pro golfers, profiled in Golf 
Magazine, Dr. Gloria Spitalny, says: “By my calculations, the average 



20 Chapter One 


golfer spends about 86% of their time doing nothing but wrestling 
with their thoughts and emotions, feeling one way or another about 
what is taking place, feeling exhilaration or anger, struggling to keep 
focused, worrying about what’s happened or what is up ahead.” It only 
stands to reason that if 86% of the time spent playing the game is 
dominated by thought and emotion, not physical action, that 86% of 
the success/failure determination is due to management of thoughts 
and emotions, not swing mechanics or putting prowess. This same 
thing is true in every athletic activity, so more and more coaches are 
devoting more and more time and energy to mental preparation and 
psychological motivation. Several top coaches have written their own 
books about these subjects, notably including Pat Riley and Phil 
Jackson of the NBA. Brendan Suhr, former assistant head coach with 
Chuck Daly at the Detroit Pistons and the Orlando Magic, is a fan of 
Psycho-Cybernetics and, in a video program about Psycho- 
Cybernetics, explained that he used the principles in suggesting new 
“mental pictures” to players struggling with different aspects of the 
game. 

Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders 

Consider Ray Kroc, the milkshake machine salesman who looked at 
the McDonald brothers’ little hamburger stand and envisioned some- 
thing amazing. Long after McDonald’s hamburger shops were every- 
where, Mr. Kroc was asked in an interview how he felt about the 
tendency of competitive fast food restaurant chains to copy every new 
McDonald’s idea, product, or promotion so quickly. He replied, “We 
can invent faster than they can copy.” He was making a statement of 
self-image — an affirmation of confidence, initiative, and power — in 
regard to a set of circumstances that many people would complain 
about and feel threatened by. Every business visionary and leader of 
note has a similar “bring it on!” approach which, from a Psycho- 
Cybernetics standpoint, I admire. 

Let me tell you one quick story about a remarkable young busi- 
ness leader by the name of Joe Polish. Joe is a carpet cleaner by trade, 
who discovered certain effective, albeit unorthodox, methods for mar- 
keting and promoting such a business, and used that as a springboard 
to develop a company that teaches and assists other carpet cleaners 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 21 


with their marketing. At last count, Joe’s organization had nearly 4,000 
carpet-cleaners as members from all over the United States and sev- 
eral foreign countries, with combined sales of over $800 million in 
cleaning services and products each year! Several hundred of those 
carpet-cleaning business owners belong to Joe’s “telephone coaching 
program” too. Joe is a young man who has risen above a difficult fam- 
ily background, without a college education, and with no formal edu- 
cation in marketing, to become the leading figure in his entire 
industry. In fact, he was named the Person of the Year by the number 
one industry trade journal. Joe says that he has “worn out” his copy of 
Psycho-Cybernetics and recommends it to all his members, and has even 
held a special seminar for his members built around Psycho- 
Cybernetics, with the editor of this book as a guest speaker. The rea- 
son? As Joe says, “all the business and marketing knowledge and 
technical skills in the world coupled with the best products, prices and 
positioning are of far less value than they should be if the person who 
possesses them lacks the inner confidence needed to use them.” 

“One of the things we teach,” Joe adds, “is how to sell at prices 
higher than your competition, and that has more to do with the indi- 
vidual business owner’s self-image than it does with anything else.” 

Sales Professionals 

Bill Brooks, a Founding Member of the Board of the Psycho- 
Cybernetics Foundation, has devised complex and sophisticated sales 
training systems for sales forces of some of America’s biggest corpora- 
tions. His High Impact Sales System has been the subject of several 
very fine books, including You're Working Too Hard to Make a Living. 
Bill has succeeded personally as a salesman and assisted thousands of 
others. And, while he is very focused on methodology, he freely admits 
that the most sophisticated, perfectly engineered system for selling 
cannot produce results in the hands of salespersons attempting to 
function in conflict and combat with their own self-images. 

Zig Ziglar is arguably America’s most celebrated motivational 
speaker and sales trainer. In his book Secrets of Closing the Sale, which 
has sold well over 250,000 copies, Zig writes: “The salesman’s self- 
image has a direct bearing on his sales success... when your self-image 
is solid, you can go from one prospect to the next, regardless of the 



22 Chapter One 


reception you get. As a salesperson it will help you enormously to 
understand that nobody on the face of this earth can make you feel 
inferior without your permission. Once you get your image right, then 
your sales world and your personal world will improve. Dr. Maxwell 
Maltz, author of Psycho-Cybernetics, said the purpose of all psy- 
chotherapy is to build the self-esteem, that is, the image of the patient 
... your self-image is important, so build a good one and you will be 
able to build your sales career bigger, better and faster.” 


In this book, you’ll be privy to a handful of case histories involv- 
ing sales professionals, including the man with the too-big nose and 
too-big ears. You will see that Psycho-Cybernetics crosses all occupa- 
tional, vocational, educational, or situational borders to work almost 
as reliably and consistently as gravity! (Note: Chapter 16 of this book 
features five amazing stories of individuals’ successes with Psycho- 
Cybernetics.) 


But What About Genetics or "Natural Talent"? 

The argument of genetic predestination is utterly without merit. 
Bunk. 

In his outstanding book, Profiles of Power and Success, Dr. Gene 
Lundrum provides in-depth analytical, psychological profiles of four- 
teen extraordinarily successful visionaries and achievers, and flatly 
concludes that nurture, not nature, is the basis for success. “Based on 
the family histories of these visionaries, heritage had little or nothing 
to do with their success.” Instead he identifies certain characteristics 
with which, he says, they were “programmed” and they “programmed 
themselves.” 

If genetic talent were the barrier to success you cannot overcome 
or the ultimate secret behind achievement, you would expect Walt 
Disney to have come from “breeding stock” evidencing extraordinary 
creativity and entrepreneurial accomplishment. Walt Disney’s father 
failed in five different businesses, including a Florida motel. Master 
architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s “sire” was an unemployed, itinerant 
minister, so inept he never kept any one job for more than a year. 



The Self-Image: Your Key to Living Without Limits 23 


Picasso’s father was a mediocre artist at best. No, this isn’t like breed- 
ing horses or show dogs. 

Evidence abounds that the conditioned, programmed, nurtured, 
and directed self-image controls success, not a genetic transfer over 
which you have no control. You cannot select your parents. You can 
select your self-image with Psycho-Cybernetics. 

Someone can argue this by pointing a finger at Michael Jordan 
or Tiger Woods. While it is true they each exhibit exceptional raw 
physical talent, that talent alone would surely have gone to waste with- 
out the healthy self-image conditioned through a variety of influences, 
not the least of which were “authoritative sources,” such as Tiger’s 
father or Michael’s college coach, Dean Smith. And for every Jordan, 
I can point my finger to an athlete of admittedly “average” physical 
talent who rises to the very top of his sport. In baseball, Ty Cobb and 
Pete Rose come to mind. In football, Fran Tarkenton or Doug Flutie, 
both erroneously judged by the experts as “too small” to play the 
game, are examples. 

Do not tolerate for a minute the idea that you are prohibited 
from any achievement by the absence of in-born talent or ability. This 
is a lie of the grandest order, an excuse of the Saddest kind. 


Prescription 

Begin collecting scrapbooks on persons, past or present, who exhibit both 
the qualities of character and personality and the life achievements to which 
you aspire. Select a different representative for each characteristic, each 
aspiration. Become the reigning expert in these peoples’ lives by collecting 
and reading their biographies, autobiographies, articles about them, 
speeches made by them, others’ analyses of them that can be found in books 
like Dr. Lundrum’s, Napoleon Hill’s, and others. Discover the almost uni- 
versal absence of predisposition (from genetics and often from their early 
environment and upbringing) for the personality they developed and the 
accomplishments of their lives. Ferret out the forces, thoughts, and influ- 
ences that actually shaped them. By making this your hobby, you will feed 
your imagination with valuable raw material that it can utilize to build the 
stronger, more goal-oriented self-image you require to achieve your life 
aspirations. 





24 Chapter One 


In Mind over Golf, Coop tells golfers: 

If you’ve attended a PGA or LPGA Tour event and found your own 
swing seemed to contain a little more rhythm and tempo than usual the 
next time you played, it was no accident. By watching the tour profes- 
sionals swing their clubs with proper pace, you were able to absorb some 
of their talent and it showed in your game. This is common for many 
golfers of all talent levels. Even the most disjointed golfer begins to look 
rhythmical after observing smooth swingers such as Mark O’Meara, 

Gene Littler, or Nancy Lopez. The problem is that the newfound tempo 
doesn’t last very long unless you’re able to reinforce your visualization by 
regularly watching the tour pros. 

This is exactly what I’m suggesting you do: “watch” the people 
who best exemplify the characteristics you wish to strengthen and who 
are living as you aspire to live by studying them through every media 
and source available. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Pick someone to thoroughly study for a month, to get so intimately famil- 
iar with the way he or she thinks that you can sit down and have a conver- 
sation with the person and solicit advice and coaching in your imagination. 





CHAPTER TWO 

How to Awaken the 
Automatic Success Mechanism 
Within You 


If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams , 
and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, 
he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 

— Henry David Thoreau 


W£ 


ien I first began getting serious about ponder- 
ing the inner workings of the mind, I was 
amused to read an article by R. W. Gerard, in the June 1946, issue of 
Scientific Monthly on the brain and imagination, in which he stated 
that it was sad but true that most of our understanding of the mind 
would remain as valid and useful if, for all we knew, the cranium were 
stuffed with cotton wadding. 

Since then, of course, understanding of how the human mind 
operates has expanded exponentially. Much of the thanks goes to the 
computer industry. When humans set out to build an “electronic 
brain” and to construct goal-striving mechanisms within computers, 
we had to discover and utilize certain basic principles. Having discov- 
ered them, scientists began to ask themselves: Could this be the way 
the human brain works also? Could it be that in making man, our 
Creator had provided us with a servo-mechanism more marvelous and 
wonderful than any electronic brain or guidance system ever dreamed 
of by man, but operating according to the same basic principles? In the 
opinion of famous cybernetic scientists like Dr. Norbert Weiner, Dr. 
John von Newmann, and others, the answer was an unqualified “yes.” 


25 



26 Chapter Two 


Your Built-In Guidance System 

Every living thing has a built-in guidance system or goal-striving 
device, put there by its Creator to help it achieve its goal — which is, in 
broad terms, to “live.” In the simpler forms of life, the goal to live sim- 
ply means physical survival for both the individual and the species. 
The built-in mechanism in animals is limited to finding food and shel- 
ter, avoiding or overcoming enemies and hazards, and procreating to 
ensure the survival of the species. 

In humans, the goal to live means more than mere survival. 
Humans have certain emotional and spiritual needs that animals do not 
have. Consequently, for them to “live” encompasses more than physi- 
cal survival and procreation of the species. It requires certain emotional 
and spiritual satisfactions as well. The built-in human Success 
Mechanism is also much broader in scope than an animal’s. In addition 
to avoiding or overcoming danger, and the “sexual instinct” that helps 
keep the race alive, the human Success Mechanism can help him get 
answers to problems, invent, write poetry, run a business, sell mer- 
chandise, explore new horizons in science, attain more peace of mind, 
develop a better personality, or achieve success in any other activity 
that is intimately tied in to “living” or that makes for a fuller life. 

It is important to accept that you possess just such a Success 
Mechanism. 


The Success "Instinct" in Action 

A squirrel does not have to be taught how to gather nuts, nor does it 
need to learn that it should store them for winter. A squirrel born in 
the spring has never experienced winter. Yet in the fall of the year it 
can be observed busily storing nuts to be eaten during the winter 
months when there will be no food to be gathered. A bird does not 
need to take lessons in nest-building, nor does it need to take courses 
in navigation. Yet birds navigate thousands of miles, sometimes over 
open sea. They have no newspapers or TV to give them weather 
reports, no books written by explorer or pioneer birds to map out for 
them the warm areas of the earth. Nonetheless the bird “knows” when 
cold weather is imminent and the exact location of a warm climate 
even though it may be thousands of miles away. 1 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 27 


In attempting to explain such things, we usually say that animals 
have certain “instincts” to guide them. Analyze all such instincts and 
you will find they assist the animal to successfully cope with its envi- 
ronment. In short, animals have a “success instinct.” 

We often overlook the fact that humans also have a success 
instinct, much more marvelous and much more complex than that of 
any animal. Our Creator did not short-change us. On the other hand, 
we are especially blessed in this regard. Animals cannot select their 
goals. Their goals (self-preservation and procreation) are preset, so to 
speak. And their Success Mechanism is limited to these built-in goal 
images, which we call “instincts.” Humans, on the other hand, have 
something animals haven’t: Creative Imagination. Thus humans, of all 
creatures, are more than creatures; they are also creators. With imag- 
ination, they can formulate a variety of goals. They alone can direct 
their Success Mechanism by the use of imagination or imaging ability. 

You might say that animals are hard-wired, and that is that. But 
we operate with software and can continually alter our output. 

Thus, a formula emerges: 

You, As Creator of Your Own Life Experiences 

(1) Conscious Mind Decision + (2) Imagination 

Communicates Goal/Target to (3) Self-Image 
= (4) “Work Order"lnstructions to 
Servo-Mechanism 

We often think of Creative Imagination as applicable only to 
poets, inventors, and the like. But imagination is creative in everything 
we do. Although they did not understand why or how imagination sets 
our creative mechanism into action, serious thinkers of all ages, as well 
as hard-headed practical men, have recognized the fact and made use 
of it. “Imagination rules the world,” said Napoleon. “The faculty of 
imagination is the great spring of human activity, and the principal 
source of human improvement . . . Destroy this faculty, and the condi- 
tion of man will become as stationary as that of the brutes,” said 
Dugold Stewart, the famous Scottish philosopher. 

“You can imagine your future,” said hard-nosed industrialist 
Henry J. Kaiser, who attributed much of his success in business to the 
constructive, positive use of creative imagination. 



28 Chapter Two 


Contemporary business leaders also acknowledge the importance 
and power of imagination: 

Consider the role of imagination in the remarkable rise of 
Starbucks Coffee. In his book Pour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks 
Built a Company One Cup at a Time, its CEO Howard Schultz talks of 
strolling the streets of Italian towns and having his imagination cap- 
tured by the little sidewalk coffee or espresso bars, packed with happy 
people, infused with energy, even romance. Schultz saw an opportu- 
nity, as he puts it, to reinvent a routine commodity — coffee. He noted: 
“If it captures your imagination, it will captivate others. ” 

The Starbucks shop you visit today is the result of Schultz’ imagi- 
native efforts to replicate the romantic, happy experience of the Italians 
and their espresso bars in your downtown or your shopping center. 

Mr. Schultz writes: “Every Starbucks store is carefully designed 
to enhance the quality of everything the customers see, touch, hear, 
smell or taste . . . what’s the first thing you notice when you approach 
a Starbucks store? Almost always, it’s the aroma. Aroma triggers mem- 
ories more strongly than any of the other senses, and it obviously plays 
a major role in attracting people to our stores. Keeping that coffee 
aroma pure is no easy task.” He goes on to describe how they banned 
smoking before it became the norm and do not sell certain foods in 
deference to the purity of the aroma, how they carefully select only 
certain kinds of background music over which the hiss of the espresso 
machine and the swish of the metal scoop shoveling out fresh beans 
can be heard, and on and on. Such intense attention to every minute 
detail requires imagination! 

Howard Schultz’ “creation” of the Starbucks experience echoes 
the phenomenal imagination-to-reality leadership of Walt Disney. 
Pick just about any Disney attraction and look closely, and you will 
notice amazing attention to detail bom of the imagination. Former 
Disney confidante and creative thinking consultant to companies like 
Apple Computer and GE, Mike Vance gives us this insight into the 
creation of the Blue Bayou restaurant inside Disneyland, then repli- 
cated at Disney World, in his book Think Outside The Box: 

If you were designing a restaurant with a New Orleans theme, the Blue 
Bayou restaurant, what would you picture in your mind? The Louisiana 
bayou country? Shadowy swamps? And what else? No shadowy, mysteri- 
ous swamp is complete without fireflies darting about ... what about the 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 29 


distinctive aromas lingering in the air of Old New Orleans? Roasting cof- 
fee with chicory adulterating the brew adds to the unmistakable 
ambiance of the French Quarter. The chicory aroma of fresh coffee was 
circulated through the restaurant’s air conditioning system ... the strains 
of that Dixieland band in the background, combined with the distinctive 
sounds of crickets chirping and a lone banjo, picking out a lazy melody in 
the distance. 

Mike notes that you may not identify each of these and other details 
but that, combined, they transport you to a different place and time. 

Virtually every person who visits Disneyland or DisneyWorld 
once, as a child or adult, returns more than once — a 100% retention 
of customers! It is no happy accident. It is imagination power put to 
the most practical of uses, for corporate profit. 

Of course, many people waste much of their imagination power, 
frittering it away on aimless daydreaming and fantasy, with no real 
appreciation for what it might do if applied purposefully. 

The sun’s light, diffused, is gentle warmth; directed through a 
magnifying glass in a certain way, it is incendiary. 

The imagination, aimless, may provide pleasant entertainment. 
Applied purposefully, it can effectively program your self-image and, 
in turn, your Automatic Success Mechanism to realize whatever goals 
you choose. 


How Your Automatic Success 
Mechanism Works 

You are not a machine, not a computer. 

But in a very real sense, you have an awesomely powerful com- 
puter-like success machine at your disposal. Your physical brain and 
nervous system make up a servo-mechanism that you use and that 
operates very much like a computer, a mechanical goal-seeking device. 
Your brain and nervous system constitute a goal-striving mechanism 
that operates automatically to achieve a certain goal, very much as a 
self-aiming torpedo or missile seeks out its target and steers its way to 
it. Your built-in servo-mechanism functions both as a “guidance sys- 
tem” to automatically steer you in the right direction to achieve cer- 
tain goals or to make correct responses to environment, and also as an 



30 Chapter Two 


“electronic brain,” which can function automatically to solve prob- 
lems, give you needed answers, and provide new ideas or inspirations. 

The word cybernetics comes from a Greek word meaning literally 
“the steersman.” Servo-mechanisms are so constructed that they auto- 
matically “steer” their way to a goal, target, or “answer.” In 1948, the 
physicist Dr. Norman Weiner began using “cybernetics” to denote the 
field of study of control and communication in animals, humans, and 
machines. In Psycho-Cybernetics, we are learning to more effectively 
communicate with and through the self-image so as to better control 
the servo-mechanism within. 

Your servo-mechanism is capable of being an Automatic Success 
Mechanism or an Automatic Failure Mechanism. That depends on 
what marching orders or programming it gets through your self- 
image. 

When we conceive of the human brain and nervous system as a 
form of servo-mechanism, operating in accordance with cybernetic 
principles, we gain a new insight into the why and wherefore of human 
behavior. 

I chose to call this new concept “Psycho-Cybernetics”: the prin- 
ciples of Cybernetics as applied to the human brain. 

I must repeat. Psycho-Cybernetics does not say that a human 
being is a computer. Rather, it says that we have a computer that we 
use. Let us examine some of the similarities between mechanical 
servo-mechanisms, such as computers, and the human brain: 


Understanding the Two General Types 
of Servo-Mechanisms 

Servo-mechanisms are divided into two general types: (1) where the 
target, goal, or “answer” is known and the objective is to reach it or 
accomplish it; (2) where the target or “answer” is not known and the 
objective is to discover or locate it. The human brain and nervous sys- 
tem operate in both ways. 

An example of the first type is the self-guided torpedo or the 
interceptor missile. The target or goal is known — an enemy ship or 
plane. The objective is to reach it. Such machines must “know” the 
target they are shooting for. They must have some sort of propulsion 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 31 


system that propels them forward in the general direction of the tar- 
get. They must be equipped with “sense organs” (radar, sonar, heat 
perceptors, etc.), which bring information from the target. These 
“sense organs” keep the machine informed when it is on the correct 
course (positive feedback) and when it commits an error and gets off 
course (negative feedback). The machine does not react or respond to 
positive feedback. It is doing the correct thing already and just keeps 
on doing what it is doing. 

There must be a corrective device, however, that responds to 
negative feedback. When negative feedback informs the mechanism 
that it is off the beam — e.g., too far to the right — the corrective mech- 
anism automatically causes the rudder to move so that it will steer the 
machine back to the left. If it overcorrects and heads too far to the left, 
this mistake is made known through negative feedback, and the cor- 
rective device moves the rudder so it steers the machine back to the 
right. The torpedo accomplishes its goal by going forward, making 
errors, and continually correcting them. By a series of zigzags, it literally 
“gropes” its way to the goal. 

Dr. Norbert Weiner, who pioneered the development of goal- 
seeking mechanisms in World War II, believes that something very 
similar to the foregoing happens in the human nervous system when- 
ever you perform any purposeful activity, even in such a simple goal- 
seeking situation as picking up a pencil from a table. 

We are able to accomplish the goal of picking up the pencil 
because of an automatic mechanism, not by “will” or conscious think- 
ing alone. All that the conscious thought does is to select the goal, 
trigger it into action by desire, and feed information to the automatic 
mechanism so that your hand continually corrects its course. 

In the first place, said Dr. Weiner, only an anatomist would know 
all the muscles involved in picking up the pencil. And if you knew, you 
would not consciously say to yourself, “I must contract my shoulder 
muscles to elevate my arm, now I must contract my triceps to extend 
my arm, etc.” You just go ahead and pick up the pencil and are not 
conscious of issuing orders to individual muscles, nor of computing 
just how much contraction is needed. 

When “you” select the goal and trigger it into action, an auto- 
matic mechanism takes over. First of all, you have picked up a pencil 
or performed similar movements before. Your automatic mechanism 



32 Chapter Two 


has learned something of the correct response needed. Next, your 
automatic mechanism uses feedback data furnished to the brain by 
your eyes, which tell it “the degree to which the pencil is not picked 
up.” This feedback data enables the automatic mechanism to continu- 
ally correct the motion of your hand, until it is steered to the pencil. 

Picking up a pencil probably isn’t very exciting. 

But it should be, because the little process just described that we 
use to pick up a pencil or perform any number of other routine, 
unchallenging tasks is exactly the same process we can use to achieve 
much more complex and seemingly challenging goals. What’s exciting 
is that you “own” the process and use it constantly. No new goal- 
achieving capabilities are needed and none are lacking. 


In other words, if you can pick up a pencil, you can speak 
confidently and persuasively to large audiences, or write 
compelling advertising, or start a business, or play golf or — 
you name it. You already “own” the “process.” 


In a baby, just learning to use its muscles, the correction of the 
hand in reaching for a rattle is very obvious. The baby has little stored 
information to draw upon. Its hand zigzags back and forth and gropes 
obviously as it reaches. As learning takes place, correction becomes 
more and more refined. We see this in a person just learning to drive 
a car, who overcorrects and zigzags back and forth across the street. 

Once, however, a correct or successful response has been accom- 
plished, it is remembered for future use. The automatic mechanism 
then duplicates this successful response on future trials. It has learned 
how to respond successfully. It remembers its successes, forgets its 
failures, and repeats the successful action as a habit. 

This is why the most adept, successful achievers in different 
fields appear to be succeeding so effortlessly. Top-performing sales 
professionals respond to prospects’ objections or concerns without 
missing a beat, say just the right thing at just the right time. Their 
responses have become habits — instinctive, in a way. 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 33 


You already have reached this point with any number of things 
you do well. This fact, that you have done so, guarantees that you can 
do so again, for any other purpose you choose. 


How Your Brain Finds Answers to Problems 

Let’s return to our examination of “the process.” Now let us suppose 
that the room is dark so that you cannot see the pencil. You know, or 
hope, there is a pencil on the table, along with a variety of other 
objects. Instinctively, your hand begins to grope back and forth, per- 
forming zigzag motions (or “scanning”), rejecting one object after 
another, until the pencil is found and “recognized.” This is an example 
of the second type of servo-mechanism. Recalling a name temporarily 
forgotten is another example. A “scanner” in your brain roams through 
your stored memories until the correct name is recognized. 

An electronic brain solves problems in much the same way. First, 
a great deal of data must be fed into the machine. This stored, or 
recorded, information is the machine’s “memory.” A problem is posed 
to the machine. It scans back through its memory until it locates the 
only answer that is consistent with and meets all the conditions of the 
problem. Problem and answer, together, constitute a “whole” situation 
or structure. When part of the situation or structure (the problem) is 
given to the machine, it locates the only “missing parts,” or the right 
size brick, so to speak, to complete the structure. 

You are familiar with this in search engines on the Internet and 
search functions within computer software. The earliest versions of 
these in computers were relatively slow, awkward, and inefficient. 
Today’s versions are lightning fast by comparison, but still very limited 
in scope and power if compared to the equivalent “search engine” 
included in your own mind. People who become very committed prac- 
titioners of Psycho-Cybernetics get very, very good at using their 
internal search engines. Many writers and speakers, for example, tell 
me of giving their subconscious instructions about their need for a 
good anecdote, story, joke, or forgotten details of a story for a writing 
task or speech, then taking a nap, to awake with exactly the material 
they wanted “on their minds.” 



34 Chapter Two 


A Look at the Automatic Mechanism in Action 

We marvel at the awesomeness of interceptor missiles that can com- 
pute in a flash the point of interception of another missile and be there 
at the correct instant to make contact. The “smart bombs” we wit- 
nessed during the Desert Storm conflict utilized technology of this 
kind. Today’s technology is far superior to what guided torpedoes in 
World War II submarines, and it is arguably possible for the so-called 
Star Wars defense system advocated by President Reagan to eventu- 
ally become reality. 

Yet are we not witnessing something just as amazing each time 
we see a center fielder catch a fly ball? To compute where the ball will 
fall or where the “point of interception” will be, he must take into 
account the speed of the ball, its curvature of fall, its direction, 
windage, initial velocity, and the rate of progressive decrease in veloc- 
ity. He must compute just how fast he must run, and in what direction 
in order to arrive at the point of interception at the same time or 
before the. ball does. The center fielder doesn’t even think about this. 
His built-in goal-striving mechanism computes it for him from data 
that he feeds it through his eyes and ears. The computer in his brain 
takes this information, compares it with stored data (memories of 
other successes and failures in catching fly balls). All necessary com- 
putations are made in a flash and orders are issued to his leg muscles- 
and he “just runs.” 


Science Can Build the Computer 
but Not the Operator 

Dr. Weiner said that at no time in the foreseeable future will scientists 
be able to construct an electronic brain anywhere near comparable to 
the human brain. “I think that our gadget conscious public has shown 
an unawareness of the special advantages and special disadvantages of 
electronic machinery, as compared with the human brain,” he says. 
“The number of switching devices in the human brain vastly exceeds 
the number in any computing machine yet developed, or even thought 
of for design in the near future.” 

His prophesy remains true as of this writing. To be sure, many 
miraculous computer-type machines and gadgets have come into our 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 35 


hands since Dr. Weiner first tinkered with cybernetics. What once 
consumed rooms of space now fits in a hard drive that sits on your 
desk top. Still, nothing compares with your system of imagination, 
self-image, servo-mechanism. 

But even should such a computer be built, it would lack a pro- 
grammer. A computer cannot pose problems to itself. It has no imag- 
ination and cannot set goals for itself. It cannot determine which goals 
are worthwhile and which are not. It has no emotions. It cannot feel. 
It works only on new data fed to it by an operator, by feedback data it 
secures from its own “sense organs” and from information previously 
stored. 


Are You Connected to an Infinite Storehouse 
of Ideas, Knowledge, and Power? 

Many great thinkers of all ages have believed that a human being’s 
“stored information” is not limited to personal memories of past expe- 
riences and learned facts. “There is one mind common to all individ- 
ual men,” said Emerson, who compared our individual minds to the 
inlets in an ocean of universal mind. 

Thomas Edison believed that he got some of his ideas from a 
source outside himself. Once, when complimented for a creative idea, 
he disclaimed credit, saying that “ideas are in the air,” and if he had 
not discovered it, someone else would have. 

Dr. J. B. Rhine, once head of Duke University’s Parapsychology 
Laboratory, has proved experimentally that people have access to 
knowledge, facts, and ideas other than their own individual memories 
or stored information from learning or experience. Telepathy, clairvoy- 
ance, and precognition have been established by countless scientific 
laboratory experiments. Our government, the Russian government, 
and other nations have quietly invested huge sums and many years of 
ongoing research into such matters. 

In recent years people have brought these subjects to the public 
more as entertainment than science, such as Uri Geller or The 
Amazing Kresldn. While much of what passes for telepathy in magi- 
cians’ and mentalists’ stage performances is nothing but trickery, both 
Geller and Kreskin have had their abilities documented in laboratory 



36 Chapter Two 

settings. Kreskin himself insists that everybody possesses the same 
abilities as he does; the difference is in development and use. 

I am admittedly more interested in the thinking of a Thomas 
Edison than a Kreskin on this, but if you look at the entire span of 
research and relevant writings from the 1920s to the present, you’ll 
find one common thread of great potential use to you, and directly 
related to Psycho-Cybernetics: 


You can give problem-solving or idea-getting tasks to your 
servo-mechanism, send it off on a search while you do other 
things, even while you sleep, and have it return with useful 
material you didn’t know you knew and might never have 
obtained through conscious thought or worry. 


This becomes a common experience and great benefit for those 
of us who regularly rely on Psycho-Cybernetics. It occurs because the 
servo-mechanism has access to a much more expansive storehouse of 
information than the conscious mind. 

The famous composer Schubert is said to have told a friend that 
his own creative process consisted in “remembering a melody” that 
neither he nor anyone else had ever thought of before. Many creative 
artists, as well as psychologists who have made a study of the creative 
process, have been impressed by the similarity between creative inspi- 
ration, sudden revelation, or intuition, and ordinary human memory. 

Searching for a new idea or an answer to a problem is, in fact, 
very similar to searching memory for a name you have forgotten. You 
know that the name is “there” or else you would not search. The scan- 
ner in your brain scans back over stored memories until the desired 
name is “recognized” or “discovered.” 


The Answer Exists Now 

In much the same way, when we set out to find a new idea or the 
answer to a problem, we must assume that the answer exists already some- 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 37 


where and set out to find it. Dr. Norbert Wiener has said, “Once a sci- 
entist attacks a problem which he knows to have an answer, his entire 
attitude is changed. He is already some fifty per cent of his way toward 
that answer” (Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings). 

When you set out' to do creative work — whether in selling, man- 
aging a business, writing a sonnet, improving human relations, or 
whatever — you begin with a goal in mind, an end to be achieved, a 
“target” answer, which, although perhaps somewhat vague, will be 
“recognized” when achieved. If you really mean business, have an 
intense desire, and begin to think intensely about all angles of the 
problem, your creative mechanism goes to work and the scanner we 
spoke of earlier scans back through stored information or gropes its 
way to an answer. It selects an idea here, a fact there, a series of for- 
mer experiences, and relates them — or ties them together into a mean- 
ingful whole that will fill out the incomplete portion of your situation, 
complete your equation, or solve your problem. When this solution is 
served up to your consciousness — often at an unguarded moment 
when you are thinking of something else, or perhaps even as a dream 
while your consciousness is asleep — something clicks and you at once 
recognize this as the answer you have been searching for. 

In this process, does your creative mechanism also have access to 
stored information in a universal mind? Numerous experiences of cre- 
ative workers would seem to indicate that it does. How else, for exam- 
ple, can you explain the experience of Louis Agassiz, told by his wife? 

He had been striving to decipher the somewhat obscure impression of a 
fossil fish on the stone slab in which it was preserved. Weary and per- 
plexed, he put his work aside at last and tried to dismiss it from his mind. 
Shortly after, he waked one night persuaded that while asleep he had seen 
his fish with all the missing features perfectly restored. 

He went early to the Jardin des Plantes, thinking that on looking anew at 
the impression he would see something to put him on the track of his 
vision. In vain — the blurred record was as blank as ever. The next night he 
saw the fish again, but when he waked it disappeared from his memory as 
before. Hoping the same experience might be repeated, on the third night 
he placed a pencil and paper beside his bed before going to sleep. 

Towards morning the fish reappeared in his dream, confusedly at first, 
but at last with such distinctness that he no longer had any doubt as to its 
zoological characters. Still half dreaming, in perfect darkness, he traced 
these characters on the sheet of paper at the bedside. 



38 Chapter Two 


In the morning he was surprised to see in his nocturnal sketch features 
which he thought it impossible the fossil itself would reveal. He hastened 
to the Jardin des Plantes and, with his drawing as a guide, succeeded in 
chiseling away the surface of the stone under which portions of the fish 
proved to be hidden. When wholly exposed, the fossil corresponded with 
his dream and his drawing, and he succeeded in classifying it with ease. 


You're No Einstein 

Sometimes a parent or teacher, frustrated at a young person’s seeming 
inability to grasp mathematics, will utter the critical, disparaging, neg- 
ative affirmation “He’s no Einstein,” walking away in disappointment 
and frustration. Well, it turns out that Einstein was no Einstein either! 
In the book Sparks of Genius, researchers and authors Robert and 
Michele Root-Bernstein disclose that Einstein’s peers knew that 
Einstein was relatively weak in mathematics, often needing the assis- 
tance of mathematicians to do the “detail work” to push his ideas for- 
ward. Einstein wrote to one such person, “Do not worry about your 
difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you that mine are far greater.” 

Much of Einstein’s celebrated success came about in his imagina- 
tion, in very “unscience-like” ways. He once described an experiment 
in which he imagined himself to be a photon moving at the speed of 
light, imagined what he as a photon saw and felt, then imagined him- 
self as a second photon pursuing the first. What kind of scientific 
experimentation is this? Where is the blackboard filled with chalky 
logarithms and formulas we typically associate with Einstein? 

My own analysis of everything I’ve read about Albert Einstein is 
that he was a great practitioner of Psycho-Cybernetics. He acted as if 
a theoretical idea was a factual conclusion, then turned the “figuring 
out” over to his own servo-mechanism as well as to other “worker 
bees.” I am convinced he connected with intelligence outside the 
realm of his own stored data through his imagination. He was a bril- 
liant target setter. His accomplishments stand as testament to an indi- 
vidual’s opportunity to rise above and beyond his or her stored 
knowledge, education, experience or skill through the power of imag- 
ination. You can too. 



How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 39 


So What Exactly Is Psycho-Cybernetics? 

You might think of Psycho-Cybernetics as a collection of insights, prin- 
ciples, and practical methods that enable you to do all of the following: 

1. Conduct an accurate inventory and analysis of the contents of 
your self-image. 

2. Identify erroneous and restrictive programming imbedded in 
your self-image and systematically alter it to better suit your pur- 
poses. 

3. Use your imagination to reprogram and manage your self-image. 

4. Use your imagination in concert with your self-image to effec- 
tively communicate with your servo-mechanism, so that it acts as 
an Automatic Success Mechanism, moving you steadily toward 
your goals, including getting back on course when confronted 
with obstacles. 

5. Effectively use your servo-mechanism as something like a giant 
search engine, to provide precisely the idea, information, or solu- 
tion you need for any particular purpose — even reaching beyond 
your own stored data to obtain it. 

In a way, Psycho-Cybernetics is a communication system, for 
effectively communicating with yourself. 


Get a New Mental Picture of Yourself 

The unhappy, failure-type personality cannot develop a new self- 
image by pure willpower or by arbitrarily deciding to. There must be 
some grounds, some justification, some reason for deciding that the 
old picture of self is in error and that a new picture is appropriate. You 
cannot merely imagine a new self-image, unless you feel that it is 
based upon truth. Experience has shown that when people change 
their self-image, they have the feeling that, for one reason or another, 
they “see” or realize the truth about themselves. 

The truth in this chapter can set you free of an old inadequate 
self-image — if you read it often, think intently about the implications, 
and “hammer home” its truths to yourself. 



40 Chapter Two 


In her book Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Gloria 
Steinheim tells the story of the Royal Knights of Harlem, a prize-win- 
ning, championship school chess club improbably made up of a dozen 
“toughs” from Spanish Harlem. These kids were hanging out on the 
street, engaging in minor crime and violence, one foot mired in delin- 
quency, experimenting with drugs. Most people who observed them 
quickly concluded they were useless, hopeless, dangerous, very 
unlikely to achieve anything much beyond a jail sentence, and unwor- 
thy of any investment. But Bill Hall, an “ordinary” school teacher, 
somehow saw potential here that no one else could see. And through 
the activity of a chess club, he engineered an environment and a series 
of experiences that changed the way these kids saw themselves. 

Quite often, a person voted unlikely to succeed by others and by 
him- or herself fortunately encounters someone who sees a potential 
no one else sees, believes in him far more than he does in himself, and 
literally directs a change in that person’s self-image through a deter- 
mined influence. However, there is no need to wait for someone else 
to do this for you. You can do it for yourself with Psycho-Cybernetics, 
and, as you’ll discover in this book, thousands have. 

The fundamental message of Psycho-Cybernetics is that every 
human being has been literally “engineered for success” by the 
Creator. Every human being has access to a power greater than him- 
or herself. This means you. 

If you were engineered for success and happiness, then any old 
picture of yourself as unworthy of happiness or inherently unable to 
excel in a certain aspect of life — of a person who was “meant” to fail — 
must be in error. 


Prescription 

Read this chapter through at least three times per week for the first 2 1 days. 
Study it and digest it. Look for examples, in your experiences and in the 
experiences of your friends, that illustrate the creative mechanism in action. 
Think about limiting ideas about yourself that may be held firmly in the 
self-image, that may be the “cause” of “effects” you no longer desire. 





How to Awaken the Automatic Success Mechanism within You 41 


Mental Training Exercise 

Memorize the following basic principles by which your Success Mechanism 
operates. You do not need to be a computer genius or a neurophysicist to 
operate your own servo-mechanism, anymore than you'have to be able to 
engineer an automobile in order to drive one or become an electrical engi- 
neer in order to turn on the light in your room. You do need to be familiar 
with the following, however, because, having memorized them, they will 
throw “new light” on what is to follow: 

1. = AIM Your built-in success mechanism must have a goal or “target.” 

This goal, or target, must be conceived of as “already in existence 
now,” either in actual or potential form. It operates either (1) by steer- 
ing you to a goal already in existence or (2) by “discovering” something 
already in existence. 

2. = TRUST The automatic mechanism is tele-logical; that is, it operates 

on, or must be oriented to, “end results,” goals. Do not be discouraged 
because the means may not be apparent. It is the function of the auto- 
matic mechanism to supply the means when you supply the goal. 
Think in terms of the end result, and the means will often take care of 
themselves. 

3. = RELAX Do not be afraid of making mistakes or of temporary failures. 

All servo-mechanisms achieve a goal by negative feedback, or by going 
forward, making mistakes, and immediately correcting course. 
Automatic course correction is one of the many benefits of Psycho- 
Cybernetics. 

4. = LEARN Skill learning of any kind is accomplished by trial and error, 

mentally correcting your aim after an error, until you achieve a “suc- 
cessful” motion, movement, or performance. After that, further learn- 
ing and continued success are accomplished by forgetting the past errors, 
and remembering the successful response, so that it can be “imitated.” 

5. = DO You must learn to trust your creative mechanism to do its work 

and not “jam it” by becoming too concerned or too anxious as to 
whether it will work or not, or by attempting to force it by too much 
conscious effort. You must let it work, rather than make it work. This 
trust is necessary because your creative mechanism operates below the 
level of consciousness, and you cannot “know” what is going on 
beneath the surface. Moreover, its nature is to operate spontaneously 
according to the present need. Therefore, you have no guarantees in 



42 Chapter Two 


advance. It comes into operation as you act and as you place a demand 
on it by your actions. You must not wait to act until you have proof. 
You must act as if it is there, and it will come through. “Do the thing 
and you will have the power,” said Emerson. 

With all this in mind, select a “target” — whether that is a thinner, healthier 
you; a more confident, persuasive you; a you free of constant worry; a sales 
professional free of procrastination who begins each day with an organized 
to-do list and ends each day with it completed; or a golfer who hits perfectly 
straight drives. Devote just ten or fifteen minutes every day to taking that 
mental picture from a vague idea to a good sketch to a finely detailed, fully 
fleshed out and colored vision that occurs to you exactly the same way 
whenever called upon. If it helps to write out descriptions, or to draw illus- 
trations on paper, or to collect relevant pictures from magazines, do so. Just 
stick to ten- or fifteen-minute sessions, when you close your eyes to the 
outer world and open them only to this picture’s continuing development. 
Try this little experiment for 2 1 days, and see what happens. 


The Strengthened and Empowered Automatic 
Success Mechanism 



The ASM at Work 


Loose, 
meandering, 
tentative, 
time-consuming 
zig zags 



You accelerate personal development and goal achievement by providing your ASM with a 
clear, precisely detailed, vividly imagined, and perfectly communicated "target." As the target 
gets clearer, the ASM responds by doing its job more efficiently. 




CHAPTER THREE 


Imagination: The Ignition Key 
to Your Automatic Success 
Mechanism 


To carry on a successful business a man must have imagination. 
He must see things as in a vision , a dream of the whole thing. 

— Charles M. Schwab, Industrialist 


m magination plays a far more important role in our 
JL lives than most of us realize. 

I have seen this demonstrated many times in my practice. A par- 
ticularly memorable instance concerned a patient who was literally 
forced to visit my office by his family. He was a man of about 40, 
unmarried, who held down a routine job during the day and kept to 
himself in his apartment when the work day was over, never going any- 
where, never doing anything. He had had many such jobs and never 
seemed able to stay with any of them for any great length of time. 

His problem was that he had a rather large nose and ears that 
protruded a little more than normal. He considered himself “ugly” 
and “funny looking.” He imagined that the people he came into con- 
tact with during the day were laughing at him and talking about him 
behind his back because he was so “odd.” His imaginings grew so 
strong that he actually feared going out into the business world and 
moving among people. He hardly felt “safe” even in his own home. 
The poor man even imagined that his family was ashamed of him 
because he was “peculiar looking,” not like “other people.” 

Actually, his facial deficiencies were not serious. His nose was of 
the classical Roman type, and his ears, though somewhat large, 
attracted no more attention than those of thousands of people with 


43 



44 Chapter Three 


similar ears. In desperation, his family brought him to me to see if I 
could help him. I saw that he did not need surgery, only an under- 
standing of the fact that his imagination had wrought such havoc with 
his self-image that he had lost sight of the truth. He was not really 
ugly. People did not consider him odd and laugh at him because of his 
appearance. His imagination alone was responsible for his misery. His 
imagination had set up an automatic, negative failure mechanism 
within him and it was operating full blast, to his extreme misfortune. 
Fortunately, after several sessions with him and with the help of his 
family, he was able gradually to realize that the power of his own imag- 
ination was responsible for his plight, and he succeeded in building up 
a true self-image and achieving the confidence he needed by applying 
creative imagination rather than destructive imagination. 

You might say he needed emotional surgery, not physical surgery 
with an actual scalpel. 

In the latter years of my surgical practice, I became quite skilled 
at talking myself out of business! 

This is an analogy for the experiences of thousands of people, 
quite possibly, in one way or another, including you. No, you may not 
feel ashamed of your nose or ears or any other physical feature, and 
you may not be a recluse. But many people believe there is something 
about them that causes others to look down on them, to ridicule them 
behind their backs, to reject them — something that prevents them 
from progressing in certain ways. 

One of the smartest, most successful and prolific idea men I’ve 
ever known in the advertising field has had a lifelong pattern of rising 
to high income, then suddenly experiencing circumstances that “pull 
the rug out from under him,” so that he must rebuild from scratch his 
reputation and his finances. One month he was living in a mansion, 
the next in a motel. He has admitted to me and to others that he has 
spent his entire life trying to escape the iron-fisted grip of what he 
calls his “white trash ancestry” and, to paraphrase A1 Pacino in one of 
the Godfather movies, just as he gets out, he is again pulled back. Of 
course, this “thing” that keeps pulling him back does not exist in the 
physical world, only inside his own self-image. It is his “ugly nose and 
big ears.” What’s yours? 

Ironically, even though his entire business is “the imagination 
business,” he has yet to discover how to use his imagination as a scalpel 
in emotional surgery, to rid his self-image of its “big nose.” 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 45 


Creative imagination is not something reserved for the poets, the 
philosophers, the inventors. It enters into our every act. Imagination 
sets the goal picture that our automatic mechanism works on. We act, 
or fail to act, not because of will, as is so commonly believed, but 
because of imagination. 

This is the most important statement to be gleaned from this 
entire book: 


Human beings always act and feel and perform in 
accordance with what they imagine to be true about 
themselves and their environment. 


You cannot long escape or outperform that picture. 

You can dissect it, analyze it, uncover what is in it that is not true 
about yourself, and alter it. You can modify it without archaeological 
examination of the past. 

But you cannot escape it. You will always act and perform — and 
experience appropriate results — in accordance with what you imagine 
to be true about yourself and your environment. This is a basic and 
fundamental law of mind. It is the way we are built. 

When we see this law of mind graphically and dramatically 
demonstrated in a hypnotized subject, we are prone to think that there 
is something occult or supernormal at work, or to discredit it as sim- 
ple stage illusion. Actually, what we are witnessing often is the normal 
operating processes of the human brain and nervous system. 

For example, if a good hypnotic subject is told that she is at the 
North Pole, she will not only shiver and appear to be cold, her body 
will react just as if she were cold, and goose pimples will develop. The 
same phenomena has been demonstrated on wide awake college stu- 
dents by asking them to imagine that one hand is immersed in ice 
water. Thermometer readings show that the temperature drops in the 
“treated” hand. Tell a hypnotized subject that your finger is a red hot 
poker and he will not only grimace with pain at your touch, but his 
cardiovascular and lymphatic systems will react just as if your finger 
were a red hot poker and produce inflammation and perhaps a blister 
on the skin. In one demonstration, when college students, wide awake, 




46 Chapter Three 


have been told to imagine that a spot on their foreheads was hot, tem- 
perature readings documented an actual increase in skin temperature. 

These are elementary experiments just one step away from the 
rather cruel but common children’s game, the practical joke played at 
school — and sometimes by adults at work. In this prank, a person is 
secretly targeted by the group, then one person after another engages 
the target in conversation, asking “Aren’t you feeling well, Bob?” “You 
look pretty white-faced.” “Bob, are you feeling alright?” Soon poor 
Bob is in the restroom, checking himself out in the mirror. Before 
long Bob is feeling queasy and weak. Bob may even actually become 
so sick he must lie down or go home. 

Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imag- 
ined experience and a “real” one. Your nervous system reacts appro- 
priately to what you think or imagine to be true. 

This phenomenon that can be produced as a practical joke or by 
a hypnotist on stage for entertainment is actually identical to, or illus- 
trative of, the basic process that governs much of our behavior, and 
that can be taken ahold of and deliberately used to advantage. 


How the Hypnotic Power of Negative Imagination 
Can Be a Fatal Disease 

When I wrote my book for physicians in 1936, New Faces — New 
Futures, about the impact of plastic surgery on personality, I reprinted 
in it a newspaper article from a St. Louis newspaper headlined: 

“Inferiority Complex” Caused by Long Nose 
Drives College Student to Commit Suicide 
This article reported the suicide of a 24-year-old student of 
Washington University, named Theodore Hoffnan. Ironically, the 
article reported that those who knew him considered him popular. 
Here is the text of this young man’s suicide note: 

To the world: 

When I was a child, other children abused and mistreated me because I 
was weaker and uglier than they. I was a sensitive, bashful boy and was 
teased because of my face and long nose. The more they offended me, the 
more they teased. I became afraid of people. I knew that many of them 
hated me for things that I was not responsible for — my sentimental 
nature and my appearance. I was unable to speak to anyone. My confi- 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 47 


dence was gone. A teacher spelled my name with two “F’s” although it has 
only one, yet I became so backward I was unable to correct her and there- 
fore spelled it with two F’s throughout my school career, God forgive 
everyone for this. I am afraid of the world but I’m not afraid to die. 

At the time, a professor at the university judged this to be the 
most severe case of an inferiority complex ever known. Nonsense. 
Believe me, this young man’s desperation, which first killed his self- 
image and then led him to take his own life, mirrors the same desper- 
ation affecting thousands and thousands of people — and missed 
entirely or underestimated in importance by the people around them. 
In fact, suicide among teenagers in recent years has reached epidemic 
proportions, though rarely discussed in the media. 

Anorexia is a chilling demonstration of the hypnotic power of 
negative imagination. In Battling the Inner Dummy , the authors (David 
Weiner and Dr, Gilbert Hefter) describe an encounter with a 15 -year- 
old girl, Ellen, shown on the CBS television program 48 Hours in 
1998. Ellen weighed only 82 pounds, and looked like a sickly child 
wasting away, but Ellen was firmly convinced she was fat. As a result, 
she avoided meals, refused to eat or would even purge herself after eat- 
ing. In this child’s hospital room, the television reporter interviewing 
her got her to stand in front of a full-length mirror and asked her if 
she saw how gaunt and weak she looked. “I think I look fat,” Ellen 
insisted. The reporter then tried fact: “But you now weigh only 82 
pounds. Do you think that is a person who is fat?” Ellen sensibly 
replied “No.” But then Ellen immediately said that she was fat and 
would grow fatter if she ate. So, determined not to eat, Ellen would 
pull out the intravenous feeding needles if not closely supervised. 

For parents, teachers, counselors, and coaches, this should be a 
cautionary tale, a vivid reminder of the need to be ever vigilant for 
some young person whose self-image is shrinking so dramatically that 
self-inflicted physical harm is likely to follow. 

For all, it is a vivid illustration of the incredible power of imagi- 
nation. A person can so magnify the importance of some flaw, and of 
the world’s response to the flaw, with his own negative imagination 
that he commits suicide! A person can similarly so “color” her percep- 
tions of her strengths and opportunities with her own positive imagi- 
nation that she accomplishes the most amazing things. 



48 Chapter Three 


The Secret of "Hypnotic Power” 

In the 1950s, Dr. Theodore Xenophon Barber conducted extensive 
research into the phenomena of hypnosis, both when he was associ- 
ated with the psychology department of American University in 
Washington, D.C., and also after becoming associated with the 
Laboratory of Social Relations at Harvard. Writing in Science Digest, 
he said: 


We found that hypnotic subjects are able to do surprising things only 

when convinced that the hypnotist’s words are true statements When 

the hypnotist has guided the subject to the point where he is convinced 
that the hypnotist’s words are true statements, the subject then behaves 
differently because he thinks and believes differently. 

The phenomena of hypnosis have always seemed mysterious because it 
has always been difficult to Understand how belief can bring about such 
unusual behavior. It always seemed as if there must be something more, 
some unfathomable force or power, at work. 

However, the plain truth is that when a subject is convinced that he is 
deaf, he behaves as if he is deaf; when he is convinced that he is insensi- 
tive to pain, he can undergo surgery without anesthesia. The mysterious 
force or power does not exist. (“Could You Be Hypnotized?” Science 
Digest, January 1958). 

Note that his comments were published in 1958. Today, hypno- 
sis as a tool of therapy is widely accepted and used. For many, hypno- 
sis and self-hypnosis to facilitate weight loss makes the surgical quick 
fix of liposuction unnecessary, a perfect analogy to my examples of 
emotional surgery versus actual surgery. In these cases, hypnosis is the 
scalpel. In dentistry, hypnosis is used to facilitate treatment of the pho- 
bic patient with virtually uncontrollable anxiety and, in many 
instances, proves to be a perfectly successful alternative to the prob- 
lematic solution of anesthesia. 

With regard to the links between childhood programming, past 
experiences and peer programming on one hand, and the imagination, 
the self-image and the servo-mechanism on the other, my conclusion 
is that people are literally hypnotized by their own self-images. In fact, 
many people virtually “sleep walk” through their entire lives under 
unrecognized hypnotic suggestion. In Quentin Reynolds’ book 
Intuition: Your Secret Power, a hypnotist is quoted as saying: “Clients 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 49 


visit me hoping that I will put them in a trance and fix their lives. In 
fact many of them live in a trance and need a dose of reality.” 

If you are stuck in a dark elevator for a couple of frightening 
hours as a child, you may still be fearful of elevators, unable to get into 
an elevator forty years later, regardless of all the safety statistics, fac- 
tual information, demonstration, observation of thousands using ele- 
vators, or even the daunting task of hiking up a dozen flights of stairs. 
You are still in the hypnotic trance from forty years ago! 

Still, a little reflection will show why it is a very good thing for us 
that we do feel and act according to what we believe or imagine to be 
true. All of this does not mean the system itself is “bad”; it only 
requires learning how to better use the “system.” 


Truth Determines Action and Behavior 

The human brain and nervous system are engineered to react auto- 
matically and appropriately to the problems and challenges in the 
environment. For example, a man does not need to stop and think that 
self-survival requires that he run if he meets a grizzly bear on a trail. 
He does not need to decide to become afraid. The fear response is 
both automatic and appropriate. First, it makes him want to flee. The 
fear then triggers bodily mechanisms that “soup up” his muscles so 
that he can run faster than he has ever run before. His heart beat is 
quickened. Adrenaline, a powerful muscle stimulant, is poured into 
the bloodstream. All bodily functions not necessary to running are 
shut down. The stomach stops working and all available blood is sent 
to the muscles. Breathing is much faster and the oxygen supply to the 
muscles is increased manyfold. 

All this, of course, is nothing new. Most of us learned it in high 
school. What we have not been so quick to realize, however, is that the 
brain and nervous system that reacts automatically to environment is 
the same brain and nervous system that tells us what the environment 
is. The reactions of the man meeting the bear are commonly thought 
of as due to “emotion” rather than to ideas. Yet it was an idea-informa- 
tion received from the outside world and evaluated by the mind that 
sparked the so-called “emotional reactions.” Thus, it was basically idea 
or belief that was the true causative agent, rather than emotion, which 



50 Chapter Three 


came as a result. In short, the man on the trail reacted to what he 
thought , believed, or imagined the environment to be. The messages 
brought to us from the environment consist of nerve impulses from 
the various sense organs. These nerve impulses are decoded, inter- 
preted, and evaluated in the brain and made known to us in the form 
of ideas or mental images. In the final analysis, it is these mental 
images that we react to. 

Note that I’ve used the terms thought , believed, and imagined as 
synonymous. In affecting your entire system, they are the same. 

You act and feel not according to what things are really like, but 
according to the image your mind holds of what they are like. You 
have certain mental images of yourself, your world, and the people 
around you, and you behave as though these images were the truth, 
the reality, rather than the things they represent. 

Suppose, for example, that the man on the trail had not met a real 
bear, but a movie actor dressed in a bear costume. If he thought and 
imagined the actor to be a bear, his emotional and nervous reactions 
would have been exactly the same. Or suppose he met a large shaggy 
dog, which his fear-ridden imagination mistook for a bear. Again, he 
would react automatically to what he believed to be true concerning 
himself and his environment. 

It follows that, if our ideas and mental images concerning our- 
selves are distorted or unrealistic, then our reaction to our environ- 
ment will likewise be inappropriate. 

'Can these causative factors change? 

Certainly. Consider the child raised in an intentionally segre- 
gated environment by racists. The child could be a white person in a 
family of white supremacists who devoutly believe that blacks are 
“mud people,” evil, and a threat to their well-being, or the child could 
be black in a family with comparable hatred for whites. Either way, the 
child is programmed with certain beliefs that will govern her 'behavior. 
In her imagination, she constructs certain truths that will be very dif- 
ficult to modify as she matures. However, some people make a 180- 
degree change in their beliefs and behavior at some point in their lives. 
These days, this has even become a popular staple of the confronta- 
tion-style daytime TV talk shows. How does a person change? 
Through life experience broader and more diverse than her family 
upbringing, societal pressure, being befriended by people of the race 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 51 


she was programmed to hate, one way or another, challenging what she 
believed to be true, discovering it is based on illusion, and replacing that truth 
with another truth. 

Now consider the child raised in a poor family, made up of peo- 
ple who profoundly believe that their unhappy circumstances are the 
fault of evil rich people and a corrupt government, who constantly 
program the child with class warfare ideas, and who insist that they 
just cannot get ahead no matter what they do. This truth may very 
well block that person’s academic achievement, direct him away from 
college, have him blindly follow his father to work in the factory or the 
coal mine. (Well, I show my age with “coal mine,” I suppose.) Yet even 
today, the basic path of accepting poverty as “fact” is prevalent in 
many, many people. But how does one person rise out of such a back- 
ground to become a highly successful entrepreneur, for example? 
Through books he’s exposed to, people he sees on television, the influ- 
ence of a mentor, life experiences, one way or another challenging 
what he believed to be true, discovering it is based on illusion, and 
replacing that truth with another truth. 

Just as the Knights Of Spanish Harlem I mentioned earlier trans- 
formed from street toughs to chess champions, from likely criminals 
to model citizens pursuing adult careers as doctors, lawyers, and busi- 
nesspersons, you can change from anything to anything by changing 
your self-image, by providing it with new truth. 

From fat and flabby to fit and strong* From mousy and timid to 
assertive and confident. From clumsy and awkward to capable and 
graceful. New evidence — actual, experiential evidence and/or vividly 
imagined, synthetic evidence and/or reinforcement from other 
authoritative •influencers — convinces the self-image. In turn, it relays 
the appropriate new directives to your servo-mechanism, and a new 
truth exists, a new reality occurs. 


Why Not Imagine Yourself Successful? 

Realizing that our actions, feelings, and behavior are the result of our 
own images and beliefs gives us the lever that psychology has always 
needed for changing personality. 

It opens a powerful psychological door to gaining skill, success, 
and happiness. 



52 Chapter Three 


Mental pictures offer us an opportunity to practice new traits and 
attitudes, which otherwise we could not do. Thi$ is possible because, 
again, your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an 
actual experience and one that is vividly imagined. 

If we picture ourselves performing in a certain manner, it is 
nearly the same as the actual performance. Mental practice is as pow- 
erful as actual practice. 

When I first made this assertion, and when others began making 
it, it was a radical idea; that you could practice in your imagination and 
achieve comparable results to actual physical practice. Today, it is 
widely accepted, having been proved by countless trials and experi- 
ments. Athletes of every stripe routinely rely on mental or imagination 
practice. For example, consider Dr. Richard Coop’s advice to golfers, 
as follows (italics are mine): 

Before you play any shot, you need to have a mental picture of how you 
want the ball to react once you deliver the clubhead to the ball. You need 
to have a definite, positive visualization of what your shot will look like. 

The picture should indicate the trajectory, the direction, the spot where 
you intend the ball to land, and how far you want the ball to roll when it 
lands ... if the flight of a shot is difficult for you to picture, try visualiz- 
ing a strip of highway that curves in the manner that you wish your ball 
to travel. Your options in this visualization are limited only by your imag- 
ination. You might see the green as a pin cushion ready to accept your 
shot ... pick visual images that work for you. Visualization is one of the 
most individual aspects of golf psychology. 

Jack Nicklaus has said, “I never hit a golf shot without having a 
sharp picture of it in my head. First I ‘see’ where I want the ball to fin- 
ish. Then I ‘see’ it going there; its trajectory and landing. The next 
‘scene’ shows me making the swing that will turn the previous images 
into reality.” Take note of the striking similarities between The 
Golden Bear’s description of what he actually does, Dr. Coop’s 
instructions, and the instructions in this book. 

It’s important to understand that imagination practice need not 
be restricted to your golf or tennis swing. The same principles of men- 
tal practice apply to virtually anything, including broader behaviors, 
such as speaking up confidently and asserting your opinions in busi- 
ness meetings versus remaining intimidated and silent (and regretting 
it later), or directly asking prospects for orders rather than leaving 
sales presentations “hanging” with wimpy, vague endings. And so on. 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 53 


I have developed a very specific regimen for mental or imagina- 
tion practice, using what I call The Theater of the Mind, which I will 
get to later. Dr. Coop also goes on to describe virtually the same 
“mental movies technique” I first began teaching in the late 1950s and 
wrote about in the original version of this book. Jack Nicklaus uses the 
word “scene”; he is playing out his successful shot as a little mental 
movie, literally stepping out of actual play and into the Theater of the 
Mind to watch the movie, then stepping back out to experience the 
deja vu effect. In an article in Golf Magazine (July 2000), Jack Nicklaus 
said, “The more deeply you ingrain what I like to call my going-to- 
the-movies discipline, the more effective you will become at hitting 
the shots you want to hit.” In his four-step process, in step four he 
even says- “Select the club that the completed ‘movie’ tells you is the 
right one.” 

Remarkably, Jack Nicklaus has found his way to virtually the 
same mental movies techniques I prescribe, even going so far as to 
turn the pesky details of correct club selection over to his Automatic 
Success Mechanism, rather than attempting conscious choice. I say 
“remarkably” because, as far as I know, Mr. Nicklaus has never read 
this book, although he has likely been influenced by the many other 
golfers and golf coaches who have. However, it’s really not all that 
remarkable, since it seems almost all peak performers find their way to 
this technique one way or another. 

In a few moments, we’ll talk more about the specifics of these 
mental movies. Let me first tell you about some of the scientific doc- 
umentation that supports the entire idea of imagination practice. In 
one of the first controlled experiments I read about, psychologist R. A. 
Vandll proved that mental practice in throwing darts at a target, 
wherein the person sits for a period each day in front of the target, and 
imagines throwing darts at it, improves aim just as much as actually 
throwing darts. 

Research Quarterly reported an experiment on the effects of men- 
tal practice on improving skill in sinking basketball free throws. One 
group of students actually practiced throwing the ball every day for 20 
days, and were scored on the first and last days. A second group was 
scored on the first and last days, and engaged in no sort of practice in 
between. A third group was scored on the first day, then spent 20 min- 
utes a day, imagining that they were throwing the ball at the goal. 



54 Chapter Three 


When they missed they would imagine that they corrected their aim 
accordingly. 

The first group, which actually practiced 20 minutes every- day, 
improved in scoring 24%. 

The second group, which had no sort of practice, showed no 
improvement. 

The third group, which practiced only in their imagination, 
improved in scoring 2 3 % ! 

This particular experiment has been widely reported and refer- 
enced, and since repeated at many universities over the years. Of 
course, none of this is infallible. After all, Shaq’s problem with foul 
shots remains a mystery! However, while an inexact science, the use of 
imagination practice is nevertheless an effective science, a proven and 
practical means of improving skills or altering imbedded “truths” in 
order to alter behavior. 


Mental Pictures Are Powerful Medicine 

Kay Porter, Ph.D. and Judy Foster, authors of The Mental Athlete: 
Inner Training for Peak Performance , provided an excellent, detailed 
prescription for relieving pain and accelerating recovery from injury. 
In an article in Tennis World Magazine, they noted “an important ele- 
ment of self-healing is a mental image that projects a positive future 
outcome. This visualization stimulates your mind and body and cre- 
ates an intention to heal . . . through mental imagery, it is possible to 
alter the body’s autonomic physiological responses. When you use 
imagination, mental pictures and suggestion, you can communicate 
with your body and make it respond.” 

Make no mistake: This is medical, scientific truth not mumbo- 
jumbo. If every hospital patient and every person entering physical 
rehabilitation were given a copy of Psycho-Cybernetics, they would be 
considerably better off. Keep this in mind if you ever have a loved one 
or friend in such circumstances. 

This article is so revealing and useful, we’ve posted more extensive 
excerpts at the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation’s web site, www.psycho- 
cybemetics.com, should you care to read it or refer a friend to it. (You 
will also find other articles, book reviews and book excerpts directly 
related to this book, in a special section of this web site.) 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 55 

Mental Pictures Can Help You Sell at a Higher Level 

In his book, How to Make $25,000 a Year Selling, Charles B. Roth told 
how a group of salespeople in Detroit who tried a new idea increased 
their sales 100%. Another group in New York increased their sales by 
150%. And individual salespeople, using the same idea, had increased 
their sales up to 400%. And what is this magic that accomplishes so 
much for salespeople? From Mr. Roth’s book: 

It is something called role-playing, and you should know about it, 
because if you will let it, it may help you to double your sales. 

What is role-playing? 

Well it is simply imagining yourself in various sales situations, then solv- 
ing them in your mind, until you know what to say and what to do when- 
ever the situation comes up in real life. 

The reason why it accomplishes so much is that selling is simply a mat- 
ter of situations. 

One is created every time you talk to a customer. He says something or 
asks a question or raises an objection. If you always know how to counter 
what he says or answer his question or handle the objection, you make 
sales ... 

A role-playing salesman, at night when he is alone, will create these situ- 
ations. He will imagine the prospect throwing the widest kind of curves 
at him. Then he will work out the best answer to them... 

No matter what the situation is, you can prepare for it before-hand by 
means of imagining yourself and your prospect face to face while he is 
raising objections and creating problems and you are handling them 
properly. 

I suspect Mr. Roth’s book is now out of print. The “$25,000” in 
its title telegraphs its age. But countless sales books, sales training pro- 
grams, and professional sales trainers have since incorporated this idea 
into their methods and advice to sales professionals. In fact, if you are 
engaged in the field of selling, you’ve undoubtedly participated in 
actual role-playing in the classroom, in the seminar room, or at a sales 
meeting, and may have then practiced with a colleague or a spouse. 
What you may not have realized is that moving the role-playing from 
the seminar room to the Theater of the Mind can be just as effective, 
and arguably more effective because you can progress from fumbling 
awkwardness and uncertainty to “perfection” and success. You can 
then rehearse only that drama repetitively until it becomes “second 



56 Chapter Three 


nature” and your real selling experiences so closely mirror those prac- 
ticed perfectly in your imagination that they are deja vu. 

If you view “negotiation” as high-level selling, then this story 
demonstrates this well. It is a letter I received from a professional 
brought in by a company to represent it in a very complex and chal- 
lenging negotiation with millions of dollars at stake, with the CEO of 
a public company, famous for being difficult. While I cannot reveal the 
names involved, I assure you the letter is in my possession. Here it is, 
excerpted in part: 

Dear Dr. Maltz, 

. . . since I had the luxury of several weeks to prepare for our first meet- 
ing that would take place behind closed doors, I immersed myself in prepara- 
tion by studying everything I could obtain about this man. I read a book he had 
written, books and articles about him, watched video tapes of interviews with 
him from TV networks and programs, analyzed his biography, and ultimately 
produced a walking, talking replica of him in my imagination, so that I could 
carry on conversations with him. I did not have means to have someone else 
ably act as this person in actual role-play, as politicians do when preparing for 
debates, so instead I created an imaginary clone. 

Frankly I chose not to let any of my associates know exactly what I was 
doing, for fear of having the men in white coats called! My client might have 
had second thoughts about entrusting this high-wire negotiation to a someone 
who had an “imaginary man” he was talking with for hours each day. 

Anyway, I followed the instructions I found in your book, Psycho- 
Cybernetics, as inspiration for my approach. After constructing this imaginary 
person, I then spent hours in what you call “The Theater of the Mind” actually 
playing out the meeting and dialogue we would have, myself the scriptwriter, 
director, lead actor and observer, which I found difficult at first, but less diffi- 
cult as I stayed with it. Soon I found my imagined clone actively raising issues, 
questions and arguments on his own. Once I recall sitting in my easy chair, eyes 
closed, immersed in this imaginary meeting, catching myself losing my temper 
and pounding my fist on the arm of the chair! 

As this evolved into a ‘mental movie’ with a successful outcome, I transi- 
tioned into re-playing that identical movie repeatedly. I even went so far, after 
many viewings, to write it out word for word, as if a courtroom transcriptionist 
was there to accurately record our conversation word for word. 

Here is what is remarkable: when the actual meeting took place, not only 
did it follow my script in order and flow, and not only did I voice things exactly 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 57 

as I had many times in the mental movie as you might expect, but he also per- 
formed as if working from the very same script! 

In his letter, he goes on to describe a very successful outcome, the 
earning of a substantial fee. 

By the way, I received this letter in 1974, 14 years after the first 
publication of my book. He made mention of noting its copyright and 
at first questioning how relevant and beneficial such “old” techniques 
might be. You may very well be reading this book 30 or 40 years after 
its first edition, and even after I have left the living. It will not matter. 
These techniques will be used by top professionals in every field of 
endeavor long after the bulky computer has been reduced to a device 
you can wear on your arm like a wristwatch. 

There is now a book based on Psycho-Cybernetics specifically 
for professional salespeople: Zero Resistance Selling, published by 
Prentice-Hall, and available in bookstores, from online booksellers, or 
at www.psycho-cybemetics.com. 


Use Mental Pictures to Get a Better Job 

The late William Moulton Marston, well-known psychologist, rec- 
ommended what he called “rehearsal practice” to men and women 
who came to him for help in job advancement. If you have an impor- 
tant interview coming up, such as making an application for a job, his 
advice was: plan for the interview in advance. Go over in your mind all 
the various questions that are likely to be asked. Think about the 
answers you are going to give. Then rehearse the interview in your 
mind. Even if none of the questions you have rehearsed come up, the 
rehearsal practice will still work wonders. It gives you confidence. And 
even though real life has no set lines to be recited like a stage play, 
rehearsal practice will help you to ad lib and react spontaneously to 
whatever situation you find yourself in, because you have practiced 
reacting spontaneously. 

This should come as no surprise, based on everything I just had 
to say about mental rehearsal for sales professionals: In a job interview, 
you are selling yourself. You are the product and its sales representa- 
tive. Like the negotiator, you may even have the luxury of time — sev- 
eral weeks, maybe even several months — to plan and prepare to search 



58 Chapter Three 


for a new or better position. If so, by all means use it to your advan- 
tage by using your imagination to construct and rehearse the “perfect” 
job interview, so that when the actual interviews take place, you’ll be 
relaxed, confident, and comfortable. 


A Concert Pianist Practices "In His Head" 

Arthur Schnabel, the world famous concert pianist, took lessons for 
only seven years. He hated practice and seldom practiced for any 
length of time at the actual piano keyboard. When questioned about 
his small amount of practice, as compared with other concert pianists, 
he said, “I practice in my head.” 

C. G. Kop, of Holland, a recognized authority on teaching piano 
recommended that all pianists “practice in their heads.” A new com- 
position, he says, should be first gone over in the mind. It should be 
memorized and played in the mind before ever touching fingers to the 
keyboard. 

“Practicing in the head” has actually become the basis for quite a 
bit of modem piano instruction. Composer, performer, and instructor, 
Patty Carlson achieved considerable fame promoting her “How to 
Play Piano Overnight” video program, in which she teaches people 
how to “feel” the music rather than learning to read sheet music and 
engage in tedious practice. 


Imagination Practice Can Lower Your Golf Score 

Golf has become an enormously popular recreation, and there’s a long 
relationship between golf and Psycho-Cybernetics. I’ve already men- 
tioned the great Jack Nicklaus’ mental rehearsal as just one example. 

Time Magazine reported that, when Ben Hogan was playing in a tourna- 
ment, he mentally rehearsed each shot, just before making it He made the shot 
perfecdy in his imagination — felt the clubhead strike the ball just as it should, 
felt himself performing the perfect follow-through — and then stepped up to the 
ball, and depended on what he called “muscle memory” to carry out the shot 
just as he imagined it 

Ben Hogan was ahead of the curve of modern golf psychology, 
which has become an industry unto itself and is largely based on visu- 
alization and relaxation techniques. 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 59 

AJex Morrison, perhaps the best-known golf instructor in the 
world at the time I was writing the first edition of this book, actually 
worked out a system of mental practice to improve your golf score 
while sitting in an easy chair and practicing mentally what he called 
the Seven Morrison Keys. According to Morrison, the mental side of 
golf represents 90% of the game, the physical side 8%, and the 
mechanical side 2%. In his book, Better Golf Without Practice, 
Morrison told how he taught Lew Lehr to break 90 for the first time, 
with no actual practice whatsoever! 

Morrison had Lehr sit in an easy chair in his living room and 
relax while he demonstrated for him the correct swing and gave a brief 
lecture on the Morrison Keys. Lehr was instructed to engage in no 
actual practice on the links, but instead spend five minutes each day, 
relaxing in his easy chair, visualizing himself attending to the Keys 
correctly. 

Morrison goes on to report how several days later, with no phys- 
ical preparation whatever, Lehr joined his regular foursome, and 
amazed them by shooting 9 holes in an even par, 36. 

The core of the Morrison system is, “You must have a clear men- 
tal picture of the correct thing before you can do it successfully.” 
Morrison, by this method, enabled many celebrities to chop as many 
as 10 to 12 strokes off their scores. 


Clearly See the Target, and Let Your Automatic 
Success Mechanism Take Care of the Details 

Johnny Bulla, a well-known professional golfer, wrote an article in 
which he said that having a clear mental image of just where you 
wanted the ball to go and what you wanted it to do was more impor- 
tant than form in golf. Most of the pros, said Bulla, have one or more 
serious flaws in their form. Yet they manage to shoot good golf. It was 
Bulla’s theory that if you picture the end result, see the ball going 
where you want it to go, and have the confidence to know that it was 
going to do what you wanted, your subconscious would take over and 
direct your muscles correctly. If your grip was wrong, and your stance 
not in the best form, your subconscious would still take care of that by 
directing your muscles to do whatever was necessary to compensate 
for the error in form. 



60 Chapter Three 


This describes the payoff of mastering these 
Psycho-Cybernetics techniques: that you reach a point 
of efficiency where you can simply, quickly hand a clear 
picture of the desired outcome over to your 
servo-mechanism and let it take care of the mechanical 
details of making that outcome take place. 


Golf is such an excellent laboratory for these techniques because, 
unlike many other sports, it is stripped down to pure competition with 
yourself. 

Morrison’s coaching of Lehr exclusively with mental practice 
came many years before Tim Gallwey, author of The Inner Game of 
Tennis , accepted the challenge of an experiment — to see how much 
golf he could learn just by adapting the inner game (mental) skills he 
had developed in playing and coaching tennis. He set the goal of 
breaking 80 while playing only once weekly, receiving no technical 
instruction, and otherwise relying on practice in his imagination, in 
one year or less. At that time, he played only several times a year, scor- 
ing between 95 and 105. His diary of that experiment is included in his 
book The Inner Game of Golf His book is well worth reading whether 
you have any interest in golf or not, as it is a thoroughly detailed case 
history in the triumph of mind over mechanics or technical informa- 
tion — actually the triumph of Psycho-Cybernetics. 

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with many top 
golfers and golf instructors, although professional discretion requires 
me to maintain confidentiality for most of them. Some engineered 
improvement in their performance with only this book and. no other 
assistance from me. Here’s one that is public knowledge: In 1964, 
Dave Stockton was struggling to survive on the pro tour. “Overall, I 
was playing well but my putting was lousy,” Stockton told an L.A. 
Times reporter. “My father, a retired pro, insisted my putting problems 
were mental, not physical, and he gave me a copy of Psycho-Cybernetics 
to read. I read it just one week before the PGA Tournament; then I 
went in knowing I was going to win.” Dave Stockton beat Arnold 
Palmer in that event and went on to enjoy a long and successful career. 
In fact, he became famous for his putting! And 22 years later, Dave 
won the 1996 U.S. Senior Open. 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 61 


The Real Secret of Mental Picturing 

Successful men and women have, since the beginning of time, used 
mental pictures and rehearsal practice to achieve success. Napoleon, 
for example, practiced soldiering in his imagination, for many years 
before he ever went on an actual battlefield. Webb and Morgan in 
their book Making the Most of Your Life, tell us that “the notes 
Napoleon made from his readings during these years of study filled, 
when printed, four hundred pages. He imagined himself as a com- 
mander, and drew maps of the island of Corsica showing where he 
would place his calculations with mathematical precision.” 

Conrad Hilton imagined himself operating a hotel long before he 
ever bought one. As a boy, he used to play that he was a hotel operator. 
His earliest successes were in buying dilapidated, “dowager” properties 
and restoring their beauty, rebirthing them as first-class properties. He 
said that, when he spotted such a property to acquire, he ceased seeing 
its actual condition, instead forming a vividly detailed collection ot pho- 
tographs in his mind of the hotel as it would appear after its makeover. 
By seeing what would be, he saw value invisible to others. 


A Strong Mental Picture Can 
Pull You Toward Success Even When You 
Have No Logical Argument for It 

Jane Savoie is one of the most respected horse riding coaches in 
America. In 2000, she coached the U.S. Olympic equestrian team 
competing in Sydney. She describes an instance in which imagination 
power superceded probabilities: 

Take, for example, my experience at the screening trials for the North 
American Championships in 1989. 1 had a whole bunch of facts that sup- 
ported the improbability of my doing well at the screening trials. I did 
have a top horse, Zapatero, but the other facts were: one, Zapatero was 
new to me and we had not had time to develop a solid relationship and 
real communications; two, he was a young horse and not yet strong 
enough to do what was required ... 

These facts made it difficult to imagine the perfect test. So I visualized 
the awards ceremony instead. Several times over the course of the day, I 
would find a quiet spot, close my eyes, relax and visualize leading the vie- 



62 Chapter Three 


tory lap. In the process I stopped thinking about “the facts” and thus pre- 
vented doubts and insecurities from creeping in. When the results were 
posted, Zapatero and I were, in fact, there to lead the lap of honor. 

It sounds incredible, and I in no way minimize the necessity for all the 
preparation and hard work involved. But mentally zeroing in on desired 
results as if they were already in existence was a significant factor in our 
ultimate success. It was important to focus on a positive outcome as a 
foregone conclusion rather than allow my rather vivid imagination to 
conjure up failure pictures. My mind (servo-mechanism) could then sup- 
ply the means to achieve my goal by helping me to (letting me) ride skill- 
fully and effectively. 


Of course, the skeptic would want to attribute this incident to 
coincidence or luck. But Jane Savoi is a skilled practitioner of Psycho- 
Cybernetics, with many evidentiary incidents to support her convic- 
tions. In fact, she has utilized Psycho-Cybernetics for many years as an 
instructor and coach of champion riders, as noted, most recently with 
the Olympic team. 

Even a single, simple, vividly imagined picture of successful 
achievement can be sufficient to block out doubts, fears, insecurities, 
and worries, and direct the Success Mechanism to the desired target. 
Full-scale mental rehearsal is even more powerful. 

There is simply no sensible case to be made anymore against 
incorporating mental rehearsal into your own daily regimen, whether 
you are a pro or weekend athlete, sales professional, entrepreneur, 
executive, school teacher, doctor, whatever. The evidence mandates 
that you learn to use this tool and do so regularly, for a myriad of pro- 
ductive purposes. It is fair to insist that if you are not utilizing this 
approach, you are operating without benefit of one of the fundamen- 
tal, universal, most relied-on psychological tools of success we know 
of: It is much like being a carpenter choosing to operate without ben- 
efit of electric power and power tools. You could, but why? 


Why Mental Picturing Is So Powerful 

The science of Cybernetics gives us insight into why mental picturing 
produces such amazing results. I find that the more people understand 
about why this works so well, the more likely they are to use it. 

This Automatic Success Mechanism within you — a highly com- 
plex automatic goal-seeking machine that steers its way to a target or 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 63 


goal by use of feed-back data and stored information, automatically 
correcting course when necessary — can Operate in only one way. It 
must have a target to shoot at. As the famous golf instructor Alex 
Morrison said, you must first clearly see a thing in your mind before 
you can do it. (As stated earlier, this new concept does not mean that 
you are a machine, but that your physical brain and body functions as 
a machine that you operate.) 


When you see a thing clearly in your mind, 
your creative “success mechanism” within you takes over 
and does the job much better than you could do it by 
conscious effort or willpower. 


Instead of trying hard by conscious effort to do the thing by iron- 
jawed willpower, all the while worrying and picturing to yourself all 
the things that are likely to go wrong, you simply relax, stop trying to 
“do it” by strain and effort, picture the target you really want to hit, 
and let your creative success mechanism take over. You are not 
relieved thereafter from effort and work, but your efforts are used to 
carry you forward toward your goal, rather than in futile mental con- 
flict which results when you want and try to do one thing, but picture 
to yourself something else. 


Finding Your Best Self 

This same creative mechanism within you can help you achieve your 
best possible self if you will form a picture in your imagination of the 
self you want to be and see yourself in the new role. This is a neces- 
sary condition to personality transformation, regardless of the method 
of therapy used. Somehow, before you can change, you must “see” 
yourself in a new role. 

I myself have witnessed veritable miracles in personality trans- 
formation when an individual changes his or her self-image. However, 
today we are only beginning to glimpse the potential creative power 
that stems from the human imagination, particularly images concern- 
ing ourselves. Consider the implications, for example, in the following 



64 Chapter Three 


news release, which appeared in 1958 under an Associated Press date- 
line: 


Just Imagine You’re Sane 

San Francisco. Some mental patients can improve their lot and perhaps 
shorten their stay in hospitals just by imagining they are normal, two psy- 
chologists with the Veterans Administration at Los Angeles reported. 

Dr. Harry M. Grayson and Dr. Leonard B. Olinger told the American 
Psychological Assn, they tried the idea on 45 men hospitalized as neuro- 
psychiatrics. 

The patients first were given the usual personality test. Then they were 
asked flatly to take the test a second time and answer the questions as 
they would if they were ‘a typical, well-adjusted person on the outside.’ 

Three-fourths of them turned in improved test performances and some 
of the changes for the better were dramatic, the psychologists reported. 

In order for these patients to answer the questions “as a typical, well- 
adjusted person” would answer, they had to imagine how a typical well- 
adjusted person would act. They had to imagine themselves in the role of 
a well-adjusted person. And this in itself was enough to cause them to 
begin “acting like” and “feeling like” a well-adjusted person. 

I am not certain what became of these good doctors and their 
innovative experiments. However, we know that today every aspect of 
self-image psychology, the very idea of self-image as steersman, and 
related techniques like “act as if’ visualization are widely accepted and 
used in assisting the mentally ill, the handicapped, addicts, and incar- 
cerated inmates involved with rehabilitation. 

Of course, you are probably not clinically insane or addicted to 
chemicals, but more likely a successful individual looking to Psycho- 
Cybernetics to help you do even better or to improve some aspect of 
your life. The fact that these techniques have become part and parcel 
• of most therapies and treatments for people with far more severe emo- 
tional and psychological difficulties than you face or can even imagine 
holds out for you the promise that they can be even more powerful, 
fast-acting, and effective from your more favorable starting point. 


Discover the Truth About Yourself 

The aim of self-image psychology is not to create a fictitious self that 
is all-powerful, arrogant, egoistic, all-important. Such an image is as 



Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 65 

inappropriate and unrealistic as the inferior image of self. Our aim is 
to find the real self. However, it is common knowledge among psy- 
chologists that most of us underrate ourselves, short-change ourselves, 
sell ourselves short. Actually, there is no such thing as a superiority 
complex. People who seem to have one are actually suffering from 
feelings of inferiority; their “superior” self is a fiction, a coverup, to 
hide from themselves and others their deep-down feelings of inferior- 
ity and insecurity. 

How can you discover the truth about yourself? How can you 
make a true evaluation? It seems to me that here psychology must turn 
to religion. The Scriptures tell us that God created man “a little lower 
than the angels” and “gave him dominion”; that God created man in 
his own image. If we really believe in an all-wise, all-powerful, all-lov- 
ing Creator, then we can draw some logical conclusions about what 
He has created — Man. In the first place such an all-wise and all-pow- 
erful Creator would not turn out inferior products, anymore than a 
master painter would paint inferior canvases. Such a Creator would 
not deliberately engineer the product to fail, anymore than a manu- 
facturer would deliberately build failure into an automobile. 

The Fundamentalists tell us that man’s chief purpose and reason 
for living is to “glorify God,” and the Humanists tell us that man’s pri- 
mary purpose is to “express himself fully.” 

However, if we take the premise that God is a loving Creator and 
has the same interest in Creation that an earthly father has in his chil- 
dren, then it seems to me that the Fundamentalists and the Humanists 
are saying the same thing. What brings more glory, pride, and satis- 
faction to a father than seeing his offspring do well, succeed, and 
express to the full their abilities and talents? Have you ever sat by the 
father of a football star during a game? Jesus expressed the same 
thought when he told us “not to hide our fight under a bushel, but to 
let our fight shine so that your Father may be glorified.” I cannot 
believe that it brings any “glory” to God when his children go around 
with hang-dog expressions, being miserable, afraid to lift up their 
heads and be somebody. 

Over the years following the first publication of the book, I’ve 
been invited to speak at many different kinds of churches, from evan- 
gelical Christian to Baptist to. Episcopal to so-called “new thought” 
and “science of mind.” I’ve had in-depth discussions about Psycho- 



66 Chapter Three 

Cybernetics with ministers, priests, a Zen monk, agnostics, even athe- 
ists. I have had no difficulty navigating these different waters, and we 
have always found common ground in the basic premise of liberating 
individuals from their own inner, mental, often unconscious self-sab- 
otage, and the corollary premise of individuals being intended (if not 
engineered) to succeed, not fail. 

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale had kind things to say about Psycho- 
Cybernetics, and he and I had several good discussions, even though I 
have on occasion commented that simple “positive thinking” as most 
people think of it is too often destined to disappoint, as it tries to force 
the issue from the circumference of our being rather than to repro- 
gram at the core. 

I don’t think you can have a legitimate religious or spiritual dis- 
agreement with Psycho-Cybernetics. 


The Final Word on Imagination Practice 

It doesn’t matter what religious, spiritual, or philosophical background 
or viewpoint you come from. It doesn’t matter how you describe it: 
imagination practice, visualization, mental picturing, or using my ter- 
minology, Theater of your Mind. What’s important is that you do it! 
If you will choose a target to apply this to, and give it a solid, honest 
2 1 -day trial, you will be so gratified with the results that you will cer- 
tainly choose to continue using this tool for the rest of your life, and 
benefit enormously by doing so, just as countless athletes, entertain- 
ers, doctors, lawyers, business leaders, and others have before you. 
Here are a few exercises to get you started: 


Mental Training Exercise 

Your present self-image was built on your own imagination pictures of 
yourself in the past, which grew out of interpretations and evaluations you 
placed on experience. Now you are to use the same method to build an ade- 
quate self-image that you previously used to build an inadequate one. 

Set aside a period of 30 minutes each day where you can be alone and 
undisturbed. Relax and make yourself as comfortable as possible. Now close 
your eyes and exercise your imagination. 




Imagination: The Ignition Key to Your Automatic Success Mechanism 67 


Many people find they get better results if they imagine themselves sitting 
before a large motion picture screen and imagine that they are seeing a 
motion picture of themselves. The important thing is to make these pic- 
tures as vivid and as detailed as possible. You want your mental pictures to 
approximate actual experience as much as possible. The way to do this is to 
pay attention to small details, sights, sounds, objects, in your imagined 
environment. Details of the imagined environment are all-important in this 
exercise because, for all practical purposes, you are creating a practice expe- 
rience. And if the imagination is vivid enough and detailed enough, your 
imagination practice is equivalent to an actual experience, insofar as your 
nervous system is concerned. 

The next important thing to remember is that during these 30 minutes you 
see yourself acting and reacting appropriately, successfully, ideally. It does- 
n’t matter how you acted yesterday. You do not need to try to have faith you 
will act in the ideal way tomorrow. Your nervous system will take care of 
that in time — if you continue to practice. See yourself acting, feeling, being 
as you want to be. Do not say to yourself, “I am going to act this way 
tomorrow.” Just say to yourself, “I am going to imagine myself acting this 
way now — for 30 minutes today.” Imagine how you would feel if you were 
already the sort of personality you want to be. If you have been shy and 
timid, see yourself moving among people with ease and poise and feeling 
good because of it. If you have been fearful and anxious in certain situations, 
see yourself acting calmly and deliberately, acting with confidence and 
courage, and feeling expansive and confident because you are. 

This exercise builds new “memories” or stored data into your midbrain and 
central nervous system. It builds a new image of self. After practicing it for 
a time, you will be surprised to find yourself “acting differently,” more or 
less automatically and spontaneously, without trying. This is as it should be. 
You do not need to take thought, or try, or make an effort now in order to 
feel ineffective and act inadequately. Your present inadequate feeling and 
doing are automatic and spontaneous, because of the memories, real and 
imagined you have built into your automatic mechanism. You will find it 
will work just as automatically upon positive thoughts and experiences as 
upon negative ones. 

Step One: Take pad and pen and write out a brief outline or description of the men- 
tal movie you intend to construct, experiment with, develop, and view in the 
Theater in the Mind. 



68 Chapter Three 


Step Two: Set aside 30 minutes a day, preferably at the same time each day, to find 
a quiet, private place, relax, close your eyes, enter your Theater, and begin playing, 
editing, replaying your movie. 

Step Three: Gradually “massage” your movie so that its “star” (you) performs 
exactly as you desire, and achieves the experience and results you desire. Strive to 
arrive at this point within the first 10 days. 

Step Four: For the remaining 1 1 days, play and enjoy that movie repeatedly with- 
out change. 


CHAPTER FOUR 


How to Dehypnotize Yourself 
from False Beliefs 

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. 

— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche 


/ I question that I have been asked many times 
^ JL about Psycho-Cybernetics equates as-if 
imagination with “fake it ’til you make it” or pure fantasy. Nothing 
could be further from the truth. “Fake it ’til you make it” is external, 
superficial, and unrealistic. It is sometimes taught to salespeople, to 
their financial and emotional detriment. 


Instead, Psycho-Cybernetics, including as-if imagination prac- 
tice, is not about fraud but a search for hidden truth. It is about uncov- 
ering your true self by creatively challenging ideas your self-image 
accepts as “facts” about you, that may or may not have been valid 
once, but need not be valid today or tomorrow. This story from my 
original book illustrates this: 

My friend Dr. Alfred Adler had an experience with a young boy 
that illustrates just how powerful belief can be on behavior and abil- 
ity. He got off to a bad start in arithmetic and his teacher became con- 
vinced that he was “dumb in mathematics.” The teacher then advised 


the parents of this “fact” and told them not to expect too much of him. 
They too were convinced. Adler passively accepted the evaluation they 
had placed on him, and his grades in arithmetic proved they had been 
correct. One day, however, he had a sudden flash of insight and 
thought he saw how to work a problem that the teacher had put on 


69 



70 Chapter Four 


the board and that none of the other pupils could work. He announced 
as much to the teacher. She and the whole class laughed, whereupon 
he became indignant, strode to the blackboard, and worked the prob- 
lem — much to their amazement. In doing so, he realized that he could 
understand arithmetic. He felt a. new confidence in his ability and 
went on to become a good math student. 

Dr. Adler’s experience was very much like that of a patient of 
mine some years back, a businessperson who wanted to excel in pub- 
lic speaking because he had a vital message to impart about his out- 
standing success in a difficult field. He had a good voice and an 
important topic, but he was unable to get up in front of strangers and 
put his message over. What held him back was his belief that he could 
not make a good talk and that he would fail to impress his audience, 
simply because he did not have an imposing appearance ... he did not 
“look like a successful executive.” This belief had burrowed so deeply 
into him that it threw up a road block every time he stood up before a 
group of people and began to talk. He mistakenly concluded that, if he 
could have an operation to improve his appearance, he would then 
gain the confidence he needed. An operation might have done the 
trick and it might not. My experience with other patients had shown 
that physical change did not always guarantee personality change. The 
solution in this man’s case was found when he became convinced that 
his negative belief was preventing him from delivering the vital infor- 
mation he had. He succeeded in replacing the negative belief with a 
positive belief that he had a message of extreme importance that he 
alone could deliver, no matter what he looked like. In due time, he was 
one of the most sought-after speakers in the business world. The only 
change was in his belief and in his self-image. 

Now the point I want to make is this: Adler had been hypnotized 
by a false belief about himself — not figuratively, but literally and actu- 
ally hypnotized. Remember that we said in the last chapter that the 
power of hypnosis is the power of belief. Let me repeat here Dr. 
Barber’s explanation of the power of hypnosis: “We found that hyp- 
notic subjects are able to do surprising things only when convinced that 
the hypnotist’s words are true statements . . . When the hypnotist has 
guided the subject to the point where he is convinced that the hypno- 
tist’s words are true statements, the subject then behaves differently 
because he thinks and believes differently.” 



How to Dehypnotize Yourself from False Beliefs 71 


The important thing for you to remember is that it does not mat- 
ter in the least how you got the idea or where it came from. You may 
never have met a professional hypnotist. You may have never been for- 
mally hypnotized. But if you have accepted an idea — from yourself, 
your teachers, your parents, friends, advertisements, or any other 
source — and further, if you are firmly convinced that idea is true, it has 
the same power over you as the hypnotist’s words have over the hyp- 
notized subject. 

Scientific research has shown that Dr. Adler’s experienee was not 
one in a million, but typical of practically all students who make poor 
grades. In Chapter One we told of how Prescott Lecky had brought 
about almost miraculous improvement in the grades of school chil- 
dren by showing them how to change their self-image. After thou- 
sands of experiments and many years of research, Lecky concluded 
that poor grades in school are in almost every case due in some degree 
to students’ self-conception and self-definition. These students had 
been literally hypnotized by such ideas as “I am dumb,” “I am poor in 
arithmetic,” “I am a naturally poor speller,” “I do not have a mechan- 
ical type mind,” etc. With such self-definitions, students had to make 
poor grades in order to be true to themselves. Unconsciously, making 
poor grades became a moral issue with them. It would be as wrong, 
from their viewpoint, for them to make good grades as it would be to 
steal if they define themselves as honest persons. 

Remember that this hypnotic programming gains permanence 
by coming from an authoritative source, through repetition, and 
through intensity. Deprogramming and reprogramming requires you 
to provide these very same factors. Dr. Adler’s childhood experience 
included authoritative sources — his parents and teachers, hearing it 
repeatedly, and having it reinforced through intensely humiliating 
experience. His liberation began with another intense experience and 
emotional reaction, which freed him and motivated him to question 
and challenge the belief. 


The Case of the Hypnotized Salesperson 

In the book, Secrets of Successful Selling, John D. Murphy tells how the 
famous sales expert Elmer Wheeler used Lecky’s theory to increase 
the earnings of a certain salesperson: 



72 Chapter Four 


Elmer Wheeler had been called in as a sales consultant to a certain firm. 

The sales manager called his attention to a very remarkable case. A cer- 
tain salesman always managed to make almost exactly $5,000 per year, 
regardless of the territory they assigned him or the commission he was 
paid. 

Because this salesman had done well in a rather small territory, he had 
been given a larger and much better one. But the next year his commis- 
sion amounted to almost the same amount as that he had made in the 
smaller one — $5,000. The following year the company increased the 
commission paid to all salesmen, but this salesman still managed to make 
only $5,000. He was then assigned one of the company’s poorest territo- 
ries — and again made the usual $5,000. 

Wheeler had a talk with this salesman and found that the trouble was not 
in the territory but in the salesman’s own evaluation of himself. He 
thought of himself as a $5,000-per-year man and as long as he held that 
concept of himself, outside conditions didn’t seem to matter much. 

When he was assigned a poor territory, he worked hard to make that 
$5,000. When he was assigned a good territory, he found all sorts of 
excuses to coast when the $5,000 was in sight. Once, when the goal had 
been reached, he got sick and was unable to work any more that year, 
although doctors could find nothing wrong with him and he miraculously 
recovered by the first of the next year. 

Obviously, that’s an old story, dated by the $5,000 earnings num- 
ber. After it appeared in the first edition of this book, I began to get 
letters about this story from sales manager after sales manager, each 
citing a similar story. They all would say that they had a person just 
like that in their organization, with whom they were frustrated beyond 
all belief. One sales manager wrote, “It is as if Howard has a pre-set 
income limit that he will not go past no matter the opportunities or 
circumstances.” And that is exactly right; it is “set” deep in his self- 
image. Until it is reset, he will manage to avoid going past it. 


How a False Belief Aged a Man 20 Years 

In my previous book, Adventures in Staying Young, I gave a detailed case 
history of how Mr. Russell aged 20 years almost overnight because of 
a false idea, then regained his youth almost as quickly when he 
accepted the truth. 

Briefly, the story is this: I performed a cosmetic operation on Mr. 
Russell’s lower lip for a very modest fee, under the condition that he 



How to Dehypnotize Yourself from False Beliefs 73 


must tell his girlfriend that the operation had cost him his entire life- 
time savings. His girlfriend had no objection to his spending money 
on her, and she insisted that she loved him, but explained she could 
never marry him because of his too large lower lip. However, when he 
told her this and proudly exhibited his new lower lip, her reaction was 
just as I had expected, but not as Mr. Russell had anticipated. She 
became hysterically angry, called him a fool for having spent all his 
money, and advised him in no uncertain terms that she had never 
loved him and never would. She had merely played him for a sucker as 
long as he had money to spend on her. However, she went further than 
I had counted on. In her anger and disgust she also announced that she 
was placing a “voodoo curse” on him. Both Mr. Russell and his girl- 
friend had been bom on an island in the West Indies where voodoo 
was practiced by the ignorant and superstitious. His family had been 
rather well-to-do. His background was one of culture and he was a 
college graduate. 

When in the heat of anger, his girlfriend “cursed” him, he felt 
vaguely uncomfortable but did not think too much about it. 

However, he remembered and wondered when a short time later he 
felt a strange small hard bump on the inside of his lip. A friend who knew 
of the voodoo curse, insisted that he see a Dr. Smith, who promptly 
assured him that the bump inside his mouth was the feared African Bug, 
which would slowly eat away all his vitality and strength. Mr. Russell 
began to worry and look for signs of waning strength. He was not long 
in finding them. He lost his appetite and his ability to sleep. 

I learned all this from Mr. Russell when he returned to my office 
several weeks after I had dismissed him. My nurse didn’t recognize 
him, and no wonder. The Mr. Russell who had first called upon me 
had been a very impressive individual, slighdy too-large lip and all. He 
stood about six feet four, a large man with the physique of an athlete 
and the bearing and manner that bespoke an inner dignity and gave 
him a magnetic personality. The very pores of his skin seemed to 
exude an animal-like vitality. 

The Mr. Russell who now sat across the desk from me had aged 
at least 20 years. His hands shook with the tremor of age. His eyes and 
cheeks were sunken. He had lost perhaps 30 pounds. The changes in 
his appearance were all characteristic of the process that medical sci- 
ence, for want of a better name, calls aging. 



74 Chapter Four 


After a quick examination of his mouth I assured Mr. Russell I 
could get rid of the African Bug in less than 30 minutes, which I did. 
The bump which had caused all the trouble was merely a small bit of 
scar tissue from his operation. I removed it, held it in my hand, and 
showed it to him. The important thing is he saw the truth and believed 
it. He gave a sigh of relief, and it seemed as if there was an almost 
immediate change in his posture and expression. 

Several weeks later, I received a nice letter from Mr. Russell, 
together with a photograph of him with his new bride. He had gone 
back to his home and married his childhood sweetheart. The man in 
the picture was the first Mr. Russell. Mr. Russell had grown young 
again overnight. A false belief had aged him 20 years. The truth had 
not only set him free of fear and restored his confidence, but had actu- 
ally reversed the aging process. 

If you could have' seen Mr. Russell as I did, both before and after, 
you would never again entertain any doubts about the power of belief, 
or that an idea accepted as true from any source can be every bit as 
powerful as hypnosis. 


Is Everyone Hypnotized? 

It is no exaggeration to say that all human beings are hypnotized to 
some extent, either by ideas they have uncritically accepted from oth- 
ers, or by ideas they have repeated to themselves or convinced them- 
selves are true. These negative ideas have exacdy the same effect on 
our behavior as the negative ideas implanted into the mind of a hyp- 
notized subject by a professional hypnotist. Have you ever seen a 
demonstration of honest-to-goodness hypnosis? If not, let me describe 
just a few of the more simple phenomena that result from the hypno- 
tist’s suggestion. The hypnotist tells a strong football player that his 
hand is stuck to the table and that he cannot lift it. It is not a question 
of the football player “not trying.” He simply cannot. He strains and 
struggles until the muscles of his arm and shoulder stand out like 
cords. But his hand remains fully rooted to the table. He tells a cham- 
pionship weight lifter that he cannot lift a pencil from the desk. And 
although normally he can hoist a 400-pound weight overhead, he now 
actually cannot lift the pencil. 



How to Dehypnotize Yourself from False Beliefs 75 


Strangely enough, in these instances, hypnosis does not weaken 
the athletes. They are potentially as strong as ever. But, without realiz- 
ing it consciously, they are working against themselves. On the one hand 
they try to lift their hand or the pencil by voluntary effort, and actu- 
ally contract the proper lifting muscles. But on the other hand, the 
idea “you cannot do it” causes contrary mu.scles to contract quite apart 
from their will. The negative idea causes them to defeat themselves; 
they cannot express or bring into play their actual available strength. 

The gripping strength of another athlete has been tested on a 
dynamometer and has been found to be 100 pounds. All his effort and 
straining cannot budge the needle beyond the 100-pound mark. Now 
he is hypnotized and told, “You are very, very strong. Stronger than 
you have ever been in your life. Much, much stronger. You are sur- 
prised at how strong you are.” Again the gripping strength of his hand 
is tested. This time he easily pulls the needle to the 125-pound mark. 

Again, strangely enough, hypnosis has not added anything to his 
actual strength. What the hypnotic suggestion did was to overcome a 
negative idea that had previously prevented him from expressing his 
full strength. In other words, the athlete in his normal waking state 
had imposed a limitation on his strength by the negative belief that he 
could only grip 100 pounds. The hypnotist merely removed this men- 
tal block, and allowed him to express his true strength. The hypnosis . 
literally “dehypnotized” him temporarily from his own self-limiting 
beliefs about himself. 

As Dr. Barber has said, it is awfully easy to assume that the hyp- 
notist himself must have some magical power when you see rather 
miraculous things happen during a hypnotic session. The stutterer 
talks fluendy. The timid, shy, retiring Caspar Milquetoast becomes 
outgoing, poised, and makes a stirring speech. Another individual who 
is not especially good in adding figures with a pencil and paper when 
awake, multiplies two three-digit figures in his head. All this happens 
because the hypnotist tells them that they can and instructs them to go 
ahead and do it. To onlookers, the hypnotist’s word seems to have a 
magical power. Such, however, is not the case. The power, the basic 
ability, to do these things was inherent in the subjects all the time, 
before they met the hypnotist. The subjects, however, were unable to 
use this power because they themselves did not know it was there. 
They had bottled it up and choked it off because of their own negative 



76 Chapter Four 


beliefs. Without realizing it, they had hypnotized themselves into 
believing they could not do these things. And it would be truer to say 
that the hypnotist had dehypnotized them than to say he had hypno- 
tized them. 

Within you, whoever you may be, is the ability and the power to 
do whatever you need to do to be happy and successful. Within you 
right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This 
power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your 
beliefs. Just as quickly as you can dehypnotize yourself from the ideas 
of “I can’t,” “I’m not worthy,” “I don’t deserve it,” and other self-lim- 
iting ideas. 


You Can Cure Your Inferiority Complex 

At least 95% of the people have their lives blighted by feelings of infe- 
riority to some extent, and to millions this same feeling of inferiority 
is a serious handicap to success and happiness. 

Every person on the face of the earth is inferior to some other 
persons or person. I know that I cannot beat Jack Nicklaus on the links, 
throw a football as straight and far as any NFL pro quarterback, and 
the list goes on. Even though I have appeared as a speaker in front of a 
number of large audiences, I know there’s a long list of people who are 
more polished and stylish and charismatic on the platform. I know this, 
but it does not induce feelings of inferiority within me and blight my 
life, simply because I do not compare myself unfavorably with them 
and do not feel that I am no good merely because I cannot do certain 
things as skillfully or as well as they. I also know that in certain areas, 
every person I meet, from the newsboy on the corner, to the president 
of the bank, is superior to me in certain respects. But neither can any 
of these people repair a scarred face or do any number of other things 
as well as I. And I am sure they do not feel inferior because of it. 

Feelings of inferiority originate not so much from facts or expe- 
riences, but from our conclusions regarding facts and our evaluation 
of experiences. For example, the fact is that I am an inferior golfer to 
Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer. This does not, however, make me an 
inferior person. Arnold Palmer’s inability to perform surgery makes 
him an inferior surgeon, but not an inferior person. It all depends on 
what and whose norms we measure ourselves by. 



How to Dehypnotize Yourself from False Beliefs 77 


It is not knowledge of actual inferiority in skill or knowledge that 
gives us an inferiority complex and interferes with our living. It is the 
feeling of inferiority that does this. 

And this feeling of inferiority comes about for just one reason: 
We judge ourselves, and measure ourselves not against our own norm 
or par but against some other individual’s norm. When we do this, we 
always, without exception, come out second best. But because we 
think , and believe and assume that we should measure up to some other 
person’s norm, we feel miserable and second-rate, and conclude that 
there is something wrong with us. The next logical conclusion in this 
cockeyed reasoning process is to conclude that we are not “worthy,” 
that we do not deserve success and happiness, and that it would be out 
of place for us to fully express our own abilities and talents, whatever 
they might be, without apology, or without feeling guilty about it. 

All this comes about because we have allowed ourselves to be 
hypnotized by the entirely erroneous idea that “I should be like so- 
and-so” or “I should be like everybody else.” The fallacy of the second 
idea can be readily seen through, if analyzed, for in truth there are no 
fixed standards common to everybody else. “Everybody else” is com- 
posed of individuals, no two of whom are alike. 


Neither a New Nose or 
New Shoes Guarantee Success 

Consider the famous advertising campaign constructed around 
Michael Jordan with the slogan “I Want To Be Like Mike.” The blunt 
truth is that very few young men have the physical talent to replicate 
Michael Jordan’s performance, even if they replicated his remarkable 
discipline, commitment, work ethic, and competitive spirit. If this ad 
campaign harmlessly sells shoes and clothing, so be it. For some, it will 
serve as positive stimulus and motivation to strive to achieve, and that 
is constructive. For others, however, sadly, it will serve only to set up 
an impossible ideal to compare to or, worse, send young people away 
from the core to the circumference of being, guaranteed disappoint- 
ment when they discover that a new pair of shoes has no more magic 
than a new nose provided by my scalpel. 

The more mature, intelligent observer of Michael and of this ad 
campaign can choose not to be adversely hypnotized by it, but to be 



78 Chapter Four 


motivated by it, and look past it, more thoughtfully at the characteris- 
tics and behavior (other than innate, exceptional physical talent) that 
have contributed most to Michael Jordan’s success, that may be uncov- 
ered in oneself, strengthened, even emulated. It is even true that a bas- 
ketball player less innately, physically gifted than Jordan could 
replicate or even surpass his success in the sport and do so, in part, 
thanks to Jordan as inspiration. 

The person with an inferiority complex invariably compounds 
the error by striving for superiority. Her feelings spring from the false 
premise that she is inferior. From this false premise, a whole structure 
of “logical thought” and feeling is built. If she feels bad because she is 
inferior, the cure is to make herself as good as everybody else, and the 
way to feel really good is to make herself superior. This striving for 
superiority gets her into more trouble, causes more frustration, and 
sometimes brings about a neurosis where none existed before. She 
becomes more miserable than ever, and “the harder she tries,” the 
more miserable she becomes. 

Inferiority and superiority are reverse sides of the same coin. The 
cure lies in realizing that the coin itself is spurious. 

The truth about you is this: 

You are not “inferior.” 

You are not “superior.” 

You are simply “you.” 

“You” as a personality are not in competition with any other per- 
sonality simply because there is not another person on the face of the 
earth like you or in your particular class. You are an individual. You are 
unique. You are not “like” any other person and can never become 
“like” any other person. You are not supposed to be like any other per- 
son and no other person is supposed to be like you. 

God did not create a standard person and in some way label that 
person by saying, “This is it.” He made every human being individual 
and unique just as He made every snowflake individual and unique. 

God created short people and tall people, large people and small 
people, skinny people and fat people, black, yellow, red and white peo- 
ple. He has never indicated any preference for any one size, shape, or 
color. Abraham Lincoln once said, “God must have loved the common 
people for he made so many of them.” He was wrong. There is no 
“common man” — no standardized, common pattern. Lincoln would 



How to Dehypnotize Yourself from False Beliefs 79 

have been nearer the truth had he said, “God must have loved uncom- 
mon people for he made so many of them.” 

An inferiority complex, and its accompanying deterioration in 
performance can be made to order in the psychological laboratory. All 
you need to do is to set up a “norm” or “average,” then convince your 
subject he does not measure up. In my original book, I reported on a 
psychologist who wanted to find out how feelings of inferiority 
affected the ability to solve problems. He gave his students a set of 
routine tests. “But then he solemnly announced that the average person 
could complete the test in about one-fifth the time it would really 
take. When in the course of the test a bell would ring, indicating that 
the ‘average man’s’ time was up, some of the brightest subjects became 
very jittery and incompetent indeed, thinking themselves to be 
morons.” (“What’s on Your Mind?”, Science Digest, February 1952) 

Imagine, if you didn’t know any better, being taken to the golf 
course for the first time, shown the basics of the game, and told that 
the average new player hit 80. If you were convinced this was true, 
how would you feel at the conclusion of your first round of golf? 

Or imagine if you didn’t know better, if you were to enter the 
insurance business convinced that the average new agent instantly 
began making $20,000 a month in commissions. How would you feel 
at the conclusion of the first month? The second? 

Consider also the dangers of measuring yourself against a very 
unfair apples-to-oranges standard. For example, if I were to measure 
my worth as an author by comparing my book’s number of copies sold 
to novelist Tom Clancy or Stephen King, I would be comparing apples 
to oranges. 

Stop measuring yourself against “their” standards. You are not 
“them” and can never measure up. Neither can “they” measure up to 
yours — nor should they. 

As you utilize Psycho-Cybernetics to communicate with your self- 
image, your objective should not be to feel superior to others, nor should 
you continue permitting feelings of inferiority to others. Your objective 
is to develop your own unique personality and accomplishments. 


How to Use Relaxation to Dehypnotize Yourself 

Physical relaxation plays a key role in the dehypnotization process. 
Our currently held beliefs, whether good or bad, true or false, were 



80 Chapter Four 


formed without effort, with no sense of strain, and without the exercise 
of willpower. Our habits, whether good or bad, were formed in the 
same way. It follows that we must employ the same process in forming 
new beliefs or new habits, that is, in a relaxed condition. 

Physical relaxation, when practiced daily, brings about an accom- 
panying “mental relaxation” and a “relaxed attitude,” which enables us 
to better consciously control our automatic mechanism. Physical 
relaxation also, in itself, has a powerful influence in dehypnotizing us 
from negative attitudes and reaction patterns. 


Mental Training Exercise 

(To be practiced for at least 30 minutes daily) 

Seat yourself comfortably in an easy chair or be down on your back. 
Consciously “let go” the various muscle groups as much as possible with- 
out making too much of an effort of it. Just consciously pay attention to the 
various parts of your body and let go a little. You will find that you can 
always voluntarily relax to a certain degree. You can stop frowning and let 
your forehead relax. You can ease up a little on the tension in your jaws. You 
can let your hands, your arms, your shoulders, your legs become a fittle 
more relaxed than they are. Spend about five minutes on this and then stop 
paying any attention to your muscles. This is as far as you are going to try 
to go by conscious control. From here on you will relax more and more by 
using your creative mechanism to automatically bring about a relaxed con- 
dition. In short, you are going to use “goal pictures,” held in your imagi- 
nation and let your automatic mechanism reafize those goals for you. 

Mental Picture 1 

In your mind’s eye see yourself lying stretched out upon the bed. Form a 
picture of your legs as they would look if made of concrete. See yourself 
lying there with two very heavy concrete legs. See these very heavy con- 
crete legs sinking far down into the mattress from their sheer weight. Now 
picture your arms and hands as made of concrete. They also are very heavy 
and are sinking down into the bed and exerting tremendous pressure 
against the bed. In your mind’s eye see a friend come into the room and 
attempt to lift your heavy concrete legs. He takes hold of your feet and 
attempts to lift them. But they are too heavy for him. He cannot do it. 
Repeat this process with your arms, neck, etc. 



How to Dehypnotize Yourself from False Beliefs 81 


Mental Picture 2 

Your body is a big marionette doll. Your hands are tied loosely to your 
wrists by strings. Your forearm is connected loosely by a string to your 
upper arm. Your upper arm is connected very loosely by a string to your 
shoulder. Your feet, calves, thighs are also connected together with a single 
string. Your neck consists of one very limp string. The strings that control 
your jaw and hold your lips together have slackened and stretched to such 
an extent that your chin has dropped down loosely against your chest. All 
the various strings connecting the various parts of your body are loose and 
limp, and your body is just sprawled loosely across the bed. 

Mental Picture 3 

Many people will find this the most relaxing of all. Just go back in memory 
to some relaxing and pleasant scene from your past. There is always some 
time in every one’s life when he felt relaxed, at ease, and at peace with the 
world. Pick out your own relaxing picture from your past and call up 
detailed memory images. Yours may be a peaceful scene at a mountain lake 
where you went fishing. If so, pay particular attention to the little inciden- 
tal things in the environment. Remember the quiet ripples on the water. 
What sounds were present? Did you hear the quiet rustling of the leaves? 
Maybe you remember sitting perfectly relaxed and somewhat drowsy 
before an open fireplace long ago. Did the logs crackle and spark? What 
other sights and sounds were present? Maybe you choose to remember 
relaxing in the sun on a beach. How did the sand feel against your body? 
Could you feel the warm relaxing sun, touching your body, almost as a 
physical thing? Was there a breeze blowing? Were there gulls on the beach? 
The more of these incidental details you can remember and picture to 
yourself, the more successful you will be. 

Daily practice will bring these mental pictures or memories clearer and 
clearer. The effect of learning will also be cumulative. Practice will 
strengthen the tie-in between mental image and physical sensation. You 
will become more and more proficient in relaxation, and this in itself will 
be “remembered” in future practice sessions. 


CHAPTER FIVE 


How to Succeed with the 
Power of Rational Thinking 

I get the facts, I study them patiently, I apply imagination. 

— Bernard Baruch 


M any of my patients were plainly disap- 
pointed when I prescribed something as 
simple as using their God-given power of reason as a method of 
changing negative beliefs and behavior. To some, it seemed incredibly 
naive and unscientific. Yet it does have one advantage: It works. And 
as we shall see later, it is based on sound scientific findings. 

There is a widely accepted fallacy that rational, logical, con- 
scious thinking has no power over unconscious processes or mecha- 
nisms, and that to change negative beliefs, feelings, or behavior, it is 
necessary to dig down and dredge up material from the “uncon- 
scious.” 

Your automatic mechanism is absolutely impersonal. It operates 
as a machine and has no will of its own. It always tries to react appro- 
priately to your current beliefs and interpretations concerning envi- 
ronment. It always seeks to give you appropriate feelings, and to 
accomplish the goals that you consciously determine upon. It works 
only on the data that you feed it in the form of ideas, beliefs, inter- 
pretations, opinions. 

It is conscious thinking that is the “control knob” of your uncon- 
scious machine. It was by conscious thought, though perhaps irra- 
tional and unrealistic, that the unconscious machine developed its 


82 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 83 


negative and inappropriate reaction patterns, and it is by conscious 
rational thought that the automatic reaction patterns can be changed. 


You Can Get Positive Results Now! 

In movies and television programs, “therapy” is usually portrayed as a 
psychiatrist guiding a patient into an archeological dig of distant child- 
hood memories. As a result, it is a popular notion that, once in ther- 
apy, you stay in therapy. 

I recall an executive telling me that he had many issues he would 
like to work on and behavior he would like to change, but that he 
would never agree to go to a psychiatrist’s office week after week, 
dredging up and endlessly discussing matters from his childhood. 
With all due respect to psychiatrists, theirs is not the only path to a 
healthy self-image and, to be fair, this idea of psychiatry is not accu- 
rately representative of all doctors’ methods. 

In any case, I asked him if he would seriously like to make some 
changes, if he could do it without ever having to revisit his childhood. 
When he said yes, I talked with him about the ideas in this chapter, the 
use of current rational thought in concert with the imagination to 
modify the self-image. 

If you remember the formula we looked at earlier, we will simply 
add a precursor to it, so that it becomes: 


You as Creator of Your Own Life Experiences 


Rational Thinking Leads To (1) Conscious Mind Decision + 
(2) Imagination Communicates Goal/Target 
to (3) Self-Image 
= (4) "Work Order" Instructions to 
Servo-Mechanism 


In simple terms, sticking to the guided missile analogy central to 
Psycho-Cybernetics, we use deliberate, rational conscious thought to 
choose the “target,” then we use the imagination to communicate the 
“target” to the self-image in a manner that it will be accepted and 
acted upon. 



84 Chapter Five 


How Testing Self-Imposed Limits with Rational 
Thinking Can Surprise You 

Consider a very simple situation: likes and dislikes of food. I once had 
a friend who refused to ever eat green beans and bacon, a side dish I 
enjoyed immensely, often with a good steak. Many times I tried to get 
him to try some, but he insisted that he hated beans. Finally I wore 
him down and one evening, in a restaurant where we were sharing a 
meal, he grudgingly agreed to taste “your damned beans,” as he put it, 
“just to get you off my back.” 

After his first bite, he murmured, “Hmmm.” He tried a second 
bite. And a third. He said, “These are quite tasty.” 

Some months later, when we again dined together, he ordered 
green beans with bacon! 

Now, there was some reason he believed it to be fact that he did 
not like the taste of green beans. I don’t know the reason, and I don’t 
know if he did either. I’d suppose not, since he never enunciated it. 
But he didn’t need to ferret through his childhood experiences, hold- 
ing all manner of youthful experiences up to the light, contemplating 
overheard adult conversations while hiding on the stairs, in order to 
challenge his belief and test it in his adult life, in the current moment. 

Admittedly, few psychologic issues are as innocuous as a like or 
dislike for green beans and bacon. But many ways in which you might 
desire to improve or to feel more at peace with yourself are actually 
not all that much more complex than your taste for beans either. 

I maintain, acknowledging that members of the psychiatric pro- 
fession may differ, that most people can, in fact, resolve most of the 
self-sabotage plaguing them with Psycho-Cybernetics and possibly 
other, related self-improvement modalities, without in-depth analysis 
of all prior life events. 


It May Be Perfectly Okay to Let Sleeping Dogs Lie 

The fact that buried in the unconscious are memories of past failures, 
along with unpleasant and painful experiences, does not mean that 
these must be “dug out,” exposed or examined, in order to effect per- 
sonality changes. As we have pointed out earlier, all skill learning is 
accomplished by trial and error, by making a trial, missing the mark, 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 85 


consciously remembering the degree of error, and making correction 
on the next trial — until finally a “hit,” or successful attempt is accom- 
plished. The successful reaction pattern is then remembered, or 
recalled, and “imitated” on future trials. This is true for a man learn- 
ing to pitch horseshoes, throw darts, sing, drive a car, play golf, get 
along socially with other human beings, or any other skill. Thus, all 
servo-mechanisms, by their very nature, contain “memories” of past 
errors, failures, painful and negative experiences. These negative 
experiences do not inhibit, but contribute to the learning process, as 
long as they are used properly as negative feedback data, and are seen 
as deviations from the positive goal desired. 

However, as soon as the error has been recognized as such, and 
correction of course made, it is equally important that the error be con- 
sciously forgotten , and that the successful attempt remembered and 
dwelt upon. 

These memories of past failures do no harm as long as our con- 
scious thought and attention is focused on the positive goal to be 
accomplished. Therefore, it is best to let these sleeping dogs lie. 

Our errors, mistakes, failures, and sometimes even our humilia- 
tions were necessary steps in the learning process. However, they were 
meant to be means to an end, not an end in themselves. When they 
have served their purpose, they should be forgotten. If we consciously 
dwell on the error or consciously feel guilty about the error and keep 
berating ourselves because of it, then — unwittingly — we make the 
error or failure itself the “goal” that is consciously held in imagination 
and memory. The unhappiest of mortals are those who insist on reliv- 
ing the past, over and over in their imagination, continually criticizing 
themselves for past mistakes, continually condemning themselves for 
past sins. 

The new term for taking control of your emotions and self-image 
without probing your past for root causes is Solution-Oriented 
Therapy, and if you are interested in a current book on this subject, I 
recommend Do One Thing Different, by Bill O’Hanlon. 


The Power of "Forgetfulness" 

WTten asked to name the most important characteristic of a truly great 
pass receiver in football, the great quarterback of the Cleveland 



86 Chapter Five 


Browns, Otto Graham, said, “A damned short memory.” Players and 
coaches have explained that to me, and echoed it year after year in 
media interviews. What is meant is that the most important skill the 
receiver possesses is the ability to instantly forget about the catchable 
pass he just embarrassingly dropped so as to focus on the “target” — 
successfully catching the next one thrown in his direction. 

I have many times watched a football game on television, seen 
the field goal kicker hook a kick badly and miss a short 20- or 30-yard 
field goal, only to return later in the game, even with the entire game 
on the line, and make a much longer, more difficult field goal. The 
kicker’s ability to forget and refocus was every bit as important as his 
physical strength and kicking mechanics. 

Continually criticizing yourself for past mistakes and errors — 
whether from years ago or minutes ago — does not help matters, but 
on the other hand tends to perpetuate the very behavior you would 
change. Memories of past failures can adversely affect present per- 
formance, if we dwell on them and foolishly conclude: “I failed yes- 
terday; therefore I will fail again today.” However, this does not 
“prove” that unconscious reaction patterns have any power in them- 
selves to repeat and perpetuate themselves or that all buried memories 
of failure must be eradicated before behavior can be changed. If we are 
victimized, it is by our conscious, thinking mind and not by the uncon- 
scious. For it is with the thinking part of our personality that we draw 
conclusions and select the goal images that we shall concentrate on. 
The minute that we change our minds and stop giving power to the 
past, the past with its mistakes loses its power over us. 


Ignore Past Failures and Forge Ahead 

When a shy, timid, wallflower is told in hypnosis, and believes or thinks 
that he is a bold, self-confident orator, his reaction patterns are 
changed instantly. He currently acts as he currently believes. His 
attention is given over completely to the positive desired goal, and no 
thought or consideration whatsoever is given to past failures. 

Dorothea Brande tells in her charming book, Wake Up and Live, 
how this one idea enabled her to become more productive and suc- 
cessful as a writer, and to draw upon talents and abilities she never 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 87 


knew she had. She had been both curious and amazed after witnessing 
a demonstration in hypnosis. Then she happened to read one sentence 
written by psychologist F. M. H. Myers, which she says changed her 
whole life. The sentence by Myers explained that the talents and abil- 
ities displayed by hypnotic subjects were due to a “purgation of mem- 
ory” of past failures, while in the hypnotic state. If this were possible 
under hypnosis, Dorothea Brande asked herself — if ordinary people 
carried around within themselves talents, abilities, powers, that were 
held in check and not used merely because of memories of past fail- 
ures — why couldn’t a person in the wakeful state use these same pow- 
ers by ignoring past failures and “acting as if it were impossible to 
fail”? She determined to try it. She would act on the assumption that 
the powers and abilities were there and that she could use them, if only 
she would go ahead and act as if, instead of in a tentative half-hearted 
way. Within a year her production as a writer had increased many 
times. So had her sales. A rather surprising result was that she discov- 
ered a talent for public speaking, became much in demand as a lecturer 
and enjoyed it, whereas previously she had not only shown no talent 
for lecturing, but disliked it intensely. 

With Psycho-Cybernetics exercises like those described in many 
chapters in this book, as well as even more extensive and sophisticated 
mental training exercises provided in my twelve-week course on 
Psycho-Cybernetics, one of the things I strive for is equipping you 
with ways to “act as if’ within your own imagination and to encourage 
your doing so repetitively and creatively. 


Bertrand Russell's Method 

In his book The Conquest of Happiness, Bertrand Russell wrote: 

I was not born happy. As a child, my favorite hymn was: ‘Weary of earth 
and laden with my sin.’ ... In adolescence, I hated life and was continu- 
ally on the verge of suicide, from which, however, I was restrained by the 
desire to know more mathematics. Now, on the contrary, I enjoy life; I 
might almost say that with every year that passes I enjoy it more . . . very 
largely it is due to a diminishing preoccupation with myself. Like others 
who had a Puritan education, I had the habit of meditating on my sins, 
follies, and shortcomings. I seemed to myself— no doubt justly — a miser- 
able specimen. Gradually I learned to be indifferent to myself and my 



88 Chapter Five 


deficiencies; I came to center my attention increasingly upon external 
objects: the state of the world, various branches of knowledge, individu- 
als for whom I felt affection. 

In the same book, he describes his method for changing auto- 
matic reaction patterns based on false beliefs: 

It is quite possible to overcome infantile suggestions of the unconscious, 
and even to change the contents of the unconscious, by employing the 
right kind of technique. Whenever you begin to feel remorse for an act 
which your reason tells you is not wicked, examine the causes of your 
feeling of remorse, and convince yourself in detail of their absurdity. Let 
your conscious beliefs be so vivid and emphatic that they make an 
impression upon your unconscious strong enough to cope with the 
impressions made by your nurse or your mother when you were an 
infant. Do not be content with an alternation between moments of 
rationality and moments of irrationality. Look into the irrationality 
closely with a determination not to respect it and not to let it dominate 
you. Whenever it thrusts foolish thoughts or feelings into your con- 
, sciousness, pull them up by the roots, examine them, and reject them. Do 
not allow yourself to remain a vacillating creature, swayed half by reason 
and half by infantile folly ... 

But if the rebellion is to be successful in bringing individual happiness 
and in enabling a man to live consistently by one standard, not to vacil- 
late between two, it is necessary that he should think and feel deeply 
about what his reason tells him. Most men, when they have thrown off 
superficially the superstitions of their childhood, think that there is no 
more to be done. They do not realize that these superstitions are still 
lurking underground. When a rational conviction has been arrived at, it 
' is necessary to dwell upon it, to follow out its consequences, to search out 
in oneself whatever beliefs inconsistent with the new conviction might 
otherwise survive . . . 

What I suggest is that a man should make up his mind with emphasis as 
to what he rationally believes, and should never allow contrary irrational 
beliefs to pass unchallenged or obtain a hold over him, however brief. 

This is a question of reasoning with himself in those moments in which 
he is tempted to become infantile, but the reasoning, if it is sufficiently 
emphatic, may be very brief. 


Ideas Are Changed Not by "Will," 
but by Other Ideas 


It can be seen that Bertrand Russell’s technique of searching out ideas 
that are inconsistent with some deeply felt conviction, is essentially the 
same as the method tested clinically with such amazing success by 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 89 


Prescott Lecky. Lecky’s method consisted of getting subjects to “see” 
that some negative concept of theirs was inconsistent with some other 
deeply held belief. Lecky believed that it was inherent in the very 
nature of “mind” itself, that all ideas and concepts making up the total 
content of “personality” must seem to be consistent with each other. If 
the inconsistency of a given idea is consciously recognized, it must be 
rejected. 

In my original book, I told of my encounter with a salesperson in 
which I employed this technique of shining the spotlight on two con- 
flicting beliefs, to get rid of the unproductive one. 

One of my patients was a salesperson who was “scared to death” 
when calling on “big shots.” His fear and nervousness were overcome 
in just one counseling session, during which I asked him, “Would you 
physically get down on all fours and crawl into the man’s office, pros- 
trating yourself before a superior personage?” 

“I should say not!” he brisded. 

“Then why do you mentally cringe and crawl?” 

Another question: “Would you go into a man’s office with your 
hand out like a beggar, and beg for a dime for a cup of coffee?” 
“Certainly not.” 

“Can’t you see that you are doing essentially the same thing, 
when you go in overly concerned with whether or not he will approve 
of you? Can’t you see that you have your hand out, literally begging 
for his approval and acceptance of you as a person?” 


Two Psychologic Levers You Can Use 
to Remove Any "Mountain" in Your Way 

Lecky found that there were two powerful levers for changing beliefs 
and concepts. There are standard convictions, which are strongly held 
by nearly everyone. These are (1) the feeling or belief that you are 
capable of doing your share, holding up your end of the log, exerting a 
certain amount of independence, and (2) the belief that there is “some- 
thing” inside you that should not be allowed to suffer indignities. 

Interestingly, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), which is 
based on extensive work by Drs. Grindler and Bandler and has been 
popularized by Tony Robbins, offers a tool-kit of two items: pain and 
accomplishment. 



90 Chapter Five 


I do not think it coincidental that pain and the deep-seated belief 
that you should not suffer great indignities are the triggers that most 
quickly or easily and definitively motivate people to action. Knowing 
this, you can use it to motivate yourself to constructive action. 

Let me tell you of a person just so motivated. Today, one of the 
members of The Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation’s Board of Directors 
and a coauthor of the Psycho-Cybernetics book Zero Resistance Selling, 
Jeff Paul, was once a Certified Financial Planner with some significant 
success, but horribly unhappy in his work. He disliked the commute 
to the office, wearing a suit and tie, selling on the telephone and in 
person, and the repetitive nature of tjie work. One day, he had the 
flash of rational thought that he need not continue making his living 
doing something he intensely disliked doing. He correctly, consciously 
acknowledged there must be any number of other ways he could meet 
his financial goals. 

You know, a great many people never take that simple realization 
seriously. 

Jeff then set about doing what we now call backwards goal-setting. 
He mentally prepared a list of things he did not want to do at all. His 
list included having to wear a suit and tie; having to manage a staff; 
some dozen or so items in total. Then he utilized his imagination to 
“shop around” for ideas about other careers and businesses that he 
might have some affinity for, but that would never require him to do 
the things on his I Never Want to Do These Things Again List. 

After considerable thought, he decided upon the mail-order 
business. He recognized that a great many financial planners could 
benefit from the methods he had perfected for successfully attracting 
clients. He envisioned a business in which he would publish that infor- 
mation in the form of books, manuals, and recordings, then sell the 
products to members of his profession by advertising and direct-mail. 
He could operate from an office in his home and have functions like 
order-taking, printing and shipping done for him by outside contrac- 
tors. He convinced his self-image he could do this by focusing on his 
strengths, such as his intimate knowledge of the desires and frustra- 
tions of his peers, his possession of useful knowledge to sell, his evolv- 
ing avid interest in mail order and willingness to learn. While his 
earliest attempts were markedly unsuccessful, he “course corrected” 
by a number of means and ultimately achieved extraordinary success I 
will briefly enumerate here: 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 91 


First, Jeff built a mail-order publishing business selling to finan- 
cial planners and insurance agents that provided an income of more 
than $100,000 a month, from a small home office. Second, Jeff created 
a home study course, seminar, and other materials to teach his mail- 
order business model to others, and he has thus inspired many others 
to create such businesses. A book he wrote about his experiences, to 
promote his course, How To Make $4,000.00 A Day Sitting At Your 
Kitchen Table In Your Underwear, has sold well over 100,000 copies. 
Third, he developed such a high level of marketing and sales letter 
copywriting skills that he has become a much sought after, highly paid 
consultant. Maybe most importantly, he has developed his businesses 
and significant wealth without conflict with his I Never Want to Do 
These Things Again List. 

Jeff credits the use of Psycho-Cybernetics techniques, but also 
emphasizes what he calls “Accurate Thinking,” what I have called 
“rational thought,” as the all-important starting point. 


Examine and Reevaluate Your Beliefs 

One of the reasons that the power of rational thinking goes unrecog- 
nized is that it is so seldom used. 

Trace down the belief about yourself, about the world, or about 
other people that is behind your negative behavior. Does something 
always happen to cause you to miss out just when success seems within 
your grasp? Perhaps you secretly feel unworthy of success, or that you 
do not deserve it. Are you ill at ease around other people? Perhaps you 
believe you are inferior to them, or that other people per se are hos- 
tile and unfriendly. Do you become anxious and fearful for no good 
reason in a situation that is relatively safe? Perhaps you believe that the 
world you live in is a hostile, unfriendly, dangerous place, or that you 
deserve punishment. 

How many people do you suppose would love to have a perfect 
lifestyle business like Jeff’s, but, if asked about it, would quickly pro- 
duce a laundry list of reasons why they cannot do what he has done. 
These “reasons” are not reasons based on current rational thought at 
all. They are just beliefs, subject to change. 

Remember that both behavior and feeling spring from belief. To 
root out the belief responsible for your feeling and behavior, ask your- 



92 Chapter Five 


self why? Is there some task you would like to do, some channel in 
which you would like to express yourself, but you hang back feeling 
that “I can’t”? Ask yourself why ? 

“Why do I believe that I can’t?” 

Then ask yourself, “Is this belief based on an actual fact or on an 
assumption — or a false conclusion?” 

Then ask yourself these four questions: 

1 . Is there any rational reason for such a belief? 

2. Could it be that I am mistaken in this belief? 

3. Would I come to the same conclusion about some other person in a 
similar situation? 

4. Why should I continue to act and feel as if this were true if there is no 
good reason to believe it? 

Don’t just pass these questions by casually. Wresde with them. 
Think hard on them. Get emotional about them. Can you see that you 
have cheated yourself and sold yourself short, not because of a “fact,” 
but only because of an irrational and erroneous belief? If so, try to 
arouse some indignation or even anger. Indignation and anger can 
sometimes act as liberators from false ideas. Alfred Adler “got mad” at 
himself and at his teacher, and was enabled to throw off a negative def- 
inition of himself. This experience is not uncommon. 

An old farmer said he quit tobacco for good one day when he dis- 
covered he had left his tobacco home and started to walk the two miles 
for it. On the way, he saw that he was being “used” in a humiliating 
way by a habit. He got mad, turned around, went back to the field, and 
never smoked again. 

Clarence Darrow, the famous attorney, said his success started 
the day that he got mad when he attempted to secure a mortgage for 
$2,000 to buy a house. Just as the transaction was about to be com- 
pleted, the lender’s wife spoke up and said, “Don’t be a fool. He will 
never make enough money to pay it off.” Darrow himself had had seri- 
ous doubts about the same thing. But “something happened” when he 
heard her remark. He became indignant, both at the woman and at 
himself, and determined he would be a success. 

Walt Disney said that he went from exploring ideas to being 
determined to make a success of them, when a group of amusement 
park owners criticized and laughed at his plans for Disneyland. 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 93 


A businessman friend of mine had a very similar experience. A 
failure at 40, he continually worried about how things would come 
out, about his own inadequacies, and whether or not he would be able 
to complete each business venture. Fearful and anxious, he was 
attempting to purchase machinery on credit, when the man’s wife 
objected. She did not believe he would ever be able to pay for it. At 
first his hopes were dashed. But then he became indignant. Who was 
he to be pushed around like that? Who was he to skulk through the 
world, continually fearful of failure? The experience awakened “some- 
thing” within him — some “new self’ — and at once he saw that this 
woman’s remark, as well as his own opinions of himself, were an 
affront to this “something.” He had no money, no credit, and no way 
to accomplish what he wanted. But he found a way, and within three 
years was more successful than he had ever dreamed of being — not in 
one business, but in three. 


The Power of Deep Desire 

Rational thought, to be effective in changing belief and behavior, must 
be accompanied with deep feeling and desire. 

Picture to yourself what you would like to be and have, and 
assume for the moment that such things might be possible. Arouse a 
deep desire for these things. Become enthusiastic about them. Dwell 
on them, and keep going over them in your mind. Your present nega- 
tive beliefs were formed by thought plus feelings. Generate enough 
emotion or deep feeling, and your new thoughts and ideas will cancel 
them out. 

If you will analyze this, you will see that you are using a process 
you have often used before: worry! The only difference is that you 
change your goals from negative to positive. When you worry, you first 
picture an undesirable future outcome or goal very vividly in your imag- 
ination. You use no effort or willpower. But you keep dwelling on the 
end result. You keep thinking about it — dwelling on it — picturing it to 
yourself as a possibility. You play with the idea that it might happen. 

This constant repetition, and thinking in terms of possibilities, 
makes the end result appear more and more real to you. After a time, 
appropriate emotions are automatically generated — fear, anxiety, dis- 
couragement — all appropriate to the undesirable end result you are 



94 Chapter Five 


worrying about. Now change the goal picture, — and you can as easily 
generate “good” emotions. Constantly picturing to yourself and 
dwelling on a desirable end result will also make the possibility seem 
more real, and again appropriate emotions of enthusiasm, cheerful- 
ness, encouragement, and happiness will automatically be generated. 


What Rational Thought Can and Cannot Do 

Remember that- your automatic mechanism can as easily function as a 
Failure Mechanism as a Success Mechanism, depending on the data 
you give it to process and the goals you set for it. It is basically a goal- 
striving mechanism. The goals it works on are up to you. Many of us 
unconsciously and unwittingly, by holding negative attitudes and 
habitually picturing failure to ourselves in our imagination, set up 
goals of failure. 

Also remember that your automatic mechanism does not reason 
about, or question the data you feed it. It merely processes it and 
reacts appropriately to it. 

The stage fright experienced by people called upon to speak in 
public is interesting. It is, according to many surveys, one of the top 
three or four fears shared by all adults. It can be paralyzing. Yet, 
rationally, you can understand that no one has been hanged for giving 
a poor public speech in quite a long time, at least in this country. In 
most situations, there is no dire consequence of appearing a bit nerv- 
ous, forgetting a few points, or telling a joke that falls flat. The fear 
felt is excessive in relationship to the possible penalty for making mis- 
takes. 

It is very important that the automatic mechanism be given true 
facts concerning the environment. This is the job of conscious rational 
thought: to know the truth, to form correct evaluations, estimations, 
opinions. In this connection most of us are prone to underestimate 
ourselves and overestimate the nature of the difficulty facing us. 

“I have made extensive experiments to discover the common 
causes of that conscious effort which freezes the thinking mind,” 
wrote psychologist Daniel W. Josselyn. “Practically always it seems to 
be due to the tendency to exaggerate the difficulty and importance of 
your mental labors, to take them too seriously and fear they will find 
you incapable.” (Daniel W. Josselyn, Why Be Tired?) 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 95 


It's Just a Game 

In his book Golf’s Mental Hazards: Overcome Them and Put an End to the 
Self Destructive Round, Dr. Alan Shapiro enumerates six mental haz- 
ards, the first four of which are directly relevant to this discussion, and 
have application far beyond the game of golf. Here are his descrip- 
tions, in abbreviated form: 

Hazard 1: The Fear of Fear. Golfers who fall prey to this expe- 
rience anticipatory anxiety before a round, have first-tee jitters, 
and “choke” during critical moments. 

Hazard 2: Losing Your Cool. This is the golfer who slams the 
club into the ground, throws it into a water hazard, or wraps it 
around a tree.. 

Hazard 3: Getting Too Up or Too Down. These golfers are 
quick to get down on themselves. Their emotions can range from 
euphoria after making a difficult par to utter despair after knock- 
ing a tee shot out of bounds on the very next hole. On the basis 
of performance on any given day, these golfers can remain elated 
or depressed for days after a round of golf. 

Hazard 4: Worry What Others Think. These individuals 
dread embarrassment on the golf course, are prone to feelings of 
inferiority, sensitive to ridicule, and feel that others are always 
closely watching and judging. 

Any of these is obviously sufficient to jam the servo-mechanism. 
On analysis, they are, of course, irrational. Hazard 3 is classic overre- 
action to individual incidents in life, most of which are never as impor- 
tant days or weeks after their occurrence as they seemed at the 
immediate moment. Persons cursed with the habit of overreaction are 
one step short of manic-depressive, will be profoundly and unneces- 
sarily miserable at least half of their lifetime, will gradually convince 
their self-image that they have no self-control, and will cause others to 
avoid relationships wth them. And Hazard 3 worsens the others. 

There’s a classic golf story about the weekend duffer returning 
home horribly depressed, sulking and moping about the house until, 



96 Chapter Five 


finally, his wife says “Honey, remember it’s just a game.” He angrily 
snaps back, “You don’t know the first damned thing about golf!” 

But it is just a game. And today is just today. A mistake is just a 
mistake. We must use rational thinking to achieve perspective, to rise 
above these paralyzing mental hazards. However, rational thought 
expressed as willpower — I will not lose my cool, I will not overreact — 
is a losing proposition. Rational thought used creatively to develop 
entirely new mental pictures in the imagination, feeding the self- 
image dynamic new evidence, transmitting a new target to the servo- 
mechanism is a winning process. 


It Ain't Necessarily So! 

It is the job of rational, conscious thought to examine and analyze 
incoming messages, to accept those that are true and reject those that 
are untrue. Many people are bowled over by the chance remark of a 
friend: “You do not look so well this morning.” If they are rejected or 
snubbed by someone, they blindly swallow the fact that this means 
they are an inferior person. Most of us are subjected to negative sug- 
gestions every day. If our conscious mind is working and on the job, 
we do not have to accept them blindly. “It ain’t necessarily so,” is a 
good motto. 

In the book Battling the Inner Dummy, the author describes this as 
“limbic hijacking,” a sort of abrupt uprising of the Automatic Failure 
Mechanism that is always lurking about, waiting to wrest control away 
from both your rational thinking and your Automatic Success 
Mechanism. After all, the Automatic Failure Mechanism and 
Automatic Success Mechanism are two sides of the same coin, sepa- 
rated only by the thinnest edge. He wrote: “... one of my tennis part- 
ners said to me, ‘Boy, are you putting on weight.’ Within hours, 
captured by an irrational fear of looking fat, I was on a crash diet. The 
scale showed I had put on only three pounds, but it was the perception 
of looking fat rather than reality that created the fean Today, when 
somebody tells me something like that, I go into the bathroom, close 
the door and scream at my Inner Dummy: ‘Don’t pay attention to that 
insensitive remark. Don’t get upset. Do you hear me, inside there? So 
okay, tonight, we’ll lay off the mashed potatoes and gravy, but that’s it.’” 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking ■ 97 


Taking time out for a “rational thought coaching session” with 
yourself can be effective, and is a precursor to installing rational 
thought-based mental pictures that can be recalled at a moment’s 
notice, to accomplish the same interruption of overreaction. 


The Problem That Can't Be Solved Won’t Be Solved 

It is the job of the conscious rational mind to form logical and correct 
conclusions. “I failed once in the past, so I will probably fail in the 
future” is neither logical nor rational. To conclude “I can’t” in 
advance, without trying, and in the absence of any evidence to the 
contrary, is not rational. We should be more like the man who was 
asked if he could play the piano. “I don’t know,” he said. “What do you 
mean you don’t know?” He said, “I have never tried.” 

Michael Vance, the former Dean of Disney University, author of 
the book Think Outside The Box , and an authority on creative thinking, 
tells of the corporate executive he queried about the company’s biggest 
problem. After listening to the problem described in all its magnitude 
and severity, Vance asked “Who’s working on solving it?” “No one,” 
replied the executive. “Why not?” Vance asked. “Because it cannot be 
solved,” replied the executive. 

I imagine that executive saying “because it cannot be solved” to 
Mr. Vance in an exasperated, impatient tone, thinking Vance the dolt 
for not grasping this simple and obvious truth. 

Too many people live their entire lives just like this executive, 
believing that their circumstances cannot be improved, their problems 
cannot be solved, even that somehow they are incapable of achieving 
the career success or prosperity or happiness that they see others 
achieving routinely. As a result, they are as vulnerable to “mental haz- 
ards” unleashing the Automatic Failure Mechanism as a hemophiliac 
is to paper cuts proving fatal. 


Decide What You Want-Not What You Don't Want 

It is the job of conscious rational thought to decide what you want, 
select the goals you wish to achieve, and concentrate on these rather 
than on what you do not want. Once you have arrived at an under- 



98 Chapter Five 


standing of what you Want, spending time and effort concentrating on 
what you do not want is not rational. When President Eisenhower was 
General Eisenhower in World War II, he was asked what would have 
been the effect on the allied cause if the invasion troops had been 
thrown back into the sea from the beaches of Italy? “It would have 
been very bad,” he said, “but I never allow my mind to think in that 
way.” 

How do you let your mind think? 

Most people go about their daily business exercising no control 
whatsoever over what pops into — or is popped into — their minds. 
Television, radio, the newspaper, casual conversation, overheard con- 
versation, any critical remark, even an advertising billboard takes con- 
trol. A cumbersome but illuminating exercise is to carry a pad or 
bound notebook with you all day and jot down every thought that 
occurs to you. Take a look at this diary at the end of the day, and see 
for yourself how little of what you thought you chose to think! We are 
too often like the couch potato whose TV remote control battery goes 
dead, and too lazy to go and install a new battery, he simply sits there 
all evening watching whatever comes on the station he is stuck on! 

Can’t you do better than this? 


Keep Your Eye on the Ball 

It is the job of your conscious mind to pay strict attention to the task 
at hand, to what you are doing and what is going on around you, so 
that these incoming sensory messages can keep your automatic mech- 
anism currently advised of the environment and allow it to respond 
spontaneously. In baseball parlance, you must “keep your eye on the 
ball.” 

It is not the job of your conscious rational mind, however, to cre- 
ate or to do the job at hand. We get into trouble when we either neg- 
lect to use conscious thinking in the way that it is meant to be used, or 
when we attempt to use it in a way that it was never meant to be used. 
We cannot squeeze creative thought out of the Creative Mechanism 
by making a conscious effort. We cannot do the job to be done by 
making strained conscious efforts. And because we try and cannot, we 
become concerned, anxious, frustrated. The automatic mechanism is 



How to Succeed with the Power of Rational Thinking 99 

unconscious. We cannot see the wheels turning. We cannot know 
what is taking place beneath the surface. And because it works sponta- 
neously in reacting to present and current needs, we can have no inti- 
mation or certified guarantee in advance that it will come up with the 
answer. We are forced into a position of trust. And only by trusting 
and acting do we receive signs and wonders. In short, conscious 
rational thought selects the goal, gathers information, concludes, eval- 
uates, estimates and starts the wheels in motion. It is not, however, 
responsible for results. We must learn to do our work, act on the best 
assumptions available, and leave the results to take care of themselves. 


Mental Training Exercises: 

1 . Have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself and honestly assess whether you 
have any problems you’re no longer attempting to resolve only because you 
have accepted as “fact” that they cannot be solved, whether you are living 
out circumstances in your life that are unfulfilling or even demeaning to 
you because you have accepted as fact that you cannot alter them. 
Reconsider! Apply current rational thought to challenge these beliefs and 
then use your imagination to “shop around” and try out new and different 
possibilities. 

Consider the questions I suggested in this chapter about each of these 
“facts” you uncover in your heart-to-heart: 

“Why do I believe that I can’t?” 

Then ask yourself, “Is this belief based on an actual fact or on an assump- 
tion or false conclusion?” 

“Is there any rational reason for such a belief?” 

“Could it be that I am mistaken in this belief?” 

“Would I come to the same conclusion about some other person in a simi- 
lar situation?” 

“Why should I continue to act and feel as if this were true if there is no 
good reason to believe it?” 

2. Out of all this rational thought, you may identify a new target (goal) to 
assign to your Automatic Success Mechanism. If so, review the exercises 
provided at the end of each of the prior chapters as means of getting started. 




1 00 Chtipter Five 

Summary Checklist of The Uses of Rational Thought 

1. It is the job of rational, conscious thought to examine and analyze incoming messages, 
to accept those that are true and reject those that are untrue. 

2. It is the job of the conscious rational mind to form logical and correct conclusions. 

3. It is the job of conscious rational thought to decide what you want, select the goals you 
wish to achieve, and concentrate on these rather than on what you do not want. 

4. It is the job of your conscious mind to pay strict attention to the task at hand, to what 
you are doing and what is going on around you, so that these incoming sensory mes- 
sages can keep your automatic mechanism currently advised of the environment and 
allow it to respond spontaneously. 



CHAPTER SIX 


How to Relax and 
Let Your Automatic Success 
Mechanism Work for You 


Determine that the thing can and shall be done , 
and then we shall find the way. 

— Abraham Lincoln 


X 


tress has recently become a popular word in our 
language. We speak of this as the age of stress. 
Worry, anxiety, insomnia, stomach ulcers have become accepted as a 
necessary part of the world in which we live.” I wrote that in 1960. 

In 1960, we didn’t know what stress was! 

We did not have the incessant cacophony of cellular phones, 
beepers, e-mail, and other technologies keeping us constantly acces- 
sible, constantly communicating, constantly under pressure to 
respond to everyone instantly. We could never have foreseen the col- 
lapse of middle management in most corporate cultures, forcing each 
person to do the work of three. We did not even yet have the two- 
career household as a norm. 

Today, the typical person has less leisure time, much less private 
“recovery” time, longer and more congested commutes, and a much 
greater and faster flow of information and a more complex environ- 
ment to deal with. 

It is far more critical today to conquer stress and anxiety, and to 
exert control over your life, than it was when I first began talking 
about Psycho-Cybernetics as stress management. 

I remain convinced that life need not be relentless pressure and 
stress. 


101 



102 Chapter Six 


We could relieve ourselves of a vast load of care, anxiety, and 
worry, if we could but recognize the simple truth, that our Creator 
made ample provisions for us to live successfully in this or any other 
age by providing us with a built-in Creative Mechanism. Changes in 
society or technology can easily be handled by our infinitely capable 
servo-mechanism. In fact, it does not understand the meaning of being 
overworked or stressed out, because its capacity is unlimited. 

Our trouble is that we ignore the automatic creative mechanism 
and try to do everything and solve all our problems by conscious 
thought or willpower. It is the job of the conscious mind to pose prob- 
lems and to identify them, but by its very nature it was never engi- 
neered to solve problems itself. You pile on stress by striving to do it 
all; you relieve stress by learning to assign “problems” to your 
Automatic Success Mechanism, then letting go of them. 


Don't Be Too Careful 

The example I used early in this book had Dr. Weiner showing us that 
man cannot even perform such a simple operation as picking up a pen- 
cil from a table by conscious thought or will. 

When a person depends almost entirely upon conscious thought 
and willpower, he becomes too careful, tod anxious, and too fearful of 
results, and the advice of Jesus to “take no thought for the morrow” or 
of St. Paul to be “careful in nothing” is regarded as impractical nonsense. 

Yet this is precisely the advice that William James, dean of 
American psychologists, gave us years ago, if we would but have lis- 
tened to him. In his little essay “The Gospel of Relaxation,” he said 
that modern man was too tense, too concerned for results, too anxious 
(this was in 1899), and that there was a better and easier way. “ When 
once a decision is reached and execution is the order of the day , dismiss 
absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome. Unclamp, in a 
word, your intellectual and practical machinery, and let it run free; and 
the service it will do you will be twice as good.” 

Incidentally, this is different from simple intuition. I am well 
aware that a great many people rebel at the thought of entrusting 
important decisions and responsibilities to something as ethereal as 
intuition. What we are talking about, I remind you, is a practical for- 
mula beginning with conscious, rational thought, but then delegating 



How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 1 03 


via the imagination in concert with the self-image, to an amazingly 
powerful “search engine” and servo-mechanism that will work for you 
toward the resolution of any problem entirely free of stress. 

The Secret of Creative Thinking and Creative Doing 

Proof of the . fact that what we have been saying is true can be seen in 
the experience of writers, inventors, and other creative workers. 
Invariably, they tell us that creative ideas are not consciously thought 
out by conscious thinking, but come automatically, spontaneously, and 
somewhat like a bolt out of the blue, when the conscious mind has let 
go of the problem and is engaged in thinking of something else. These 
creative ideas do not come willy-nilly without some preliminary con- 
scious thought about the problem. All the evidence points to the con- 
clusion that in order to receive an “inspiration” or a “hunch,” the 
person must first of all be intensely interested in solving a particular 
problem or securing an answer. He or she must think about it con- 
sciously, gather all the information available on the subject, consider 
all the possible courses of action. And above all, there must be a burn- 
ing desire to solve the problem. But, having defined the problem, hav- 
ing seen in the imagination the desired end result, having secured all 
the information and facts, then additional struggling, fretting and 
worrying over it does not help, but seems to hinder the solution. 

In his classic, best-selling book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon 
Hill tells of being put under pressure by his publisher to come up with 
an appropriate tide for his book in just 24 hours. Such a tide idea had 
been eluding Hill for months, while he completed and submitted his 
manuscript. At “D-day,” his editor told him he had only 24 hours to 
come up with a good idea, or the book would go to press with the edi- 
tor’s best idea, a title of Use Your Noodle to Get the Boodle. Hill protested 
the outrageous hype and tabloid nature of the title, saying it would ruin 
him, that he’d never be taken seriously. “24 hours,” his publisher said. 

That is stress! Briefly, Hill tried to consciously create the title, 
but soon gave up, as he had been trying for months with no success. 
He decided instead to turn the whole matter over to his subconscious 
and let whatever would be, be. Then, he awoke from a nap with the 
title. On close examination, we can easily see that all his Automatic 
Success Mechanism did was rewrite the “bad” title. “Noodle” is 
“Think”; “Boodle” is “Rich.” 



1 04 Chapter Six 


I believe every author has had this kind of experience. Some of us 
have gone out of our way to have it deliberately and repeatedly, often 
letting whole chapters or lectures be written for us by our servo-mech- 
anisms while we nap or play with our grandchildren or sit in a boat, 
fish pole in hand. The editor of this book, the President of The 
Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, Dan Kennedy, has written nine 
books and numerous articles, writes a monthly newsletter, creates 
dozens of audio cassette programs, and is a busy advertising copy- 
writer as well. He has made a point of mastering the application of 
Psycho-Cybernetics for this purpose, so that he can go to sleep at 
night, then awake and instantly sit at his computer keyboard and “pour 
out” the writing work that has been done “for him” as he slept. While 
others tell of writing being enormously stressful and difficult, for him 
it is virtually free of stress. 

Dan Kennedy says he was first inspired to attempt this by my 
writing about Bertrand Russell’s experience in the original edition of 
this book. Bertrand Russell said: 

I have found, for example, that, if I have to write upon some rather diffi- 
cult topic, the best plan is to think about it with very great intensity — the 
greatest intensity of which I am capable — for a few hours or days, and at 
the end of that time give orders, so to speak, that the work is to proceed 
underground. After some months I return consciously to the topic and 
find that the work has been done. Before I had discovered this technique, 

I used to spend the intervening months worrying because I was making 
no progress; I arrived at the solution none the sooner for this worry, and 
the intervening months were wasted, whereas now I can devote them to 
other pursuits.” (Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness) 

What works for writers can work for you. The delegation of cre- 
ation, i.e., problem solving (they are one and the same), to the servo- 
mechanism is a universally applicable process. 

Lenox Riley Lohr, once president of National Broadcasting 
Company, once wrote an article telling how ideas that had helped him 
in business came to him. “Ideas, I find, come most readily when you 
are doing something that keeps the mind alert without putting too 
much strain upon it. Shaving, driving a car, sawing a plank, or fishing 
or hunting, for instance. Or engaging with some friend in stimulating 
conversation. Some of my best ideas came from information picked up 
casually and entirely unrelated to my work.” (Anyone Can Be an Idea 
Man,” American Magazine , March 1940) 



How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 1 05 


C. G. Suits, once Chief of Research at General Electric, said that 
nearly all the discoveries in research laboratories came as hunches dur- 
ing a period of relaxation, following a period of intensive thinking and 
fact-gathering. 

In other words, when the stress of trying to force the answer 
through conscious thought is turned off, the servo-mechanism is lib- 
erated to function as an Automatic Success Mechanism, and often 
does just that. 


You Are a "Creative Worker" 

The mistake we make is assuming that this process of “unconscious 
cerebration” is reserved for authors, artists, inventors, and other so- 
called “creative workers.” We are all creative workers, whether we are 
cooks working in a kitchen, school teachers, students, sales profes- 
sionals, or entrepreneurs. We all have the same success mechanism 
within us, and it will work in solving personal problems, running a 
business, or selling goods, just as it will in writing a story or inventing 
a product. Bertrand Russell recommended that the same method he 
used in his writing be employed by his readers in solving their mun- 
dane personal problems. Dr. J. B. Rhine of Duke University said that 
he was inclined to think that what we call “genius” is a process — a nat- 
ural way in which the human mind works to solve any problem — but 
that we mistakenly apply the term “genius” only when the process is 
used to write a book or paint a picture. 

Michael J. Gelb’s fascinating book, How to Think Like Leonardo da 
Vinci, is based on the premise that genius is a process more so than 
genetic gift. 

In effect, each of us has genius within, in most cases waiting to be 
awakened, liberated, energized, and utilized. Right now, being a 
genius might not be part of your self-image, but soon I hope it will be, 
based on this expanded idea of what genius really is and how it works. 

The Secret of "Natural" Behavior and Skill 

The Success Mechanism within you can work in the same way to pro- 
duce creative doing as it does to produce creative ideas. 

Skill in any performance, whether it be in sports, in playing the 
piano, in conversation, or in selling merchandise, consists not in 



1 06 Chapter Six 


painfully and consciously thinking out each action as it is performed, 
but in relaxing and letting the job do itself through you. Creative per- 
formance is spontaneous-and natural, as opposed to self-conscious and 
studied. The most skilled pianist in the world could never play a sim- 
ple composition if she tried to consciously think out just which finger 
should strike which key while she was playing. She has given conscious 
thought to this matter previously (while learning) and has practiced 
until her actions become automatic and habit-like. She was able to 
become a magnificent performer only when she reached the point 
where she could cease conscious effort and turn the matter of playing 
over to the unconscious habit mechanism that is a part of the Success 
Mechanism. 

You may have read elsewhere about this in the context of four 
steps or levels of learning: 

1. Unconscious Incompetence 

2 . Conscious Incompetence 

3 . Conscious Competence 

4. Unconscious Competence 

In the first, you don’t even know what you don’t know. As you 
move to the second level, you are painfully aware of what is difficult 
for you. In the third level, you become able to do the thing, but you 
are still doing it the hard way, relying on conscious thought, possibly 
willpower as well. Rising to the fourth level, what was difficult 
becomes automatic. This is a reasonably accurate depiction of each 
learning experience, whether it is tying a shoelace as a child or oper- 
ating a computer as an adult. 

What is very important and exciting is how much you can accel- 
erate the movement up this four-rung ladder, and how much stress 
you can surgically remove from it, through Psycho-Cybernetics, most 
notably by using Theater in Your Mind techniques in place of or in 
supplement to actual, physical fumbling. 


Don't Jam Your Creative Machinery 

Conscious effort inhibits and jams the Automatic Creative 
Mechanism. The reason some people are self-conscious and awkward 



How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 107 


in social situations is simply that they are too consciously concerned, 
too anxious to do the right thing, and too fearful of saying or doing 
the wrong thing. They are painfully conscious of every move they 
make. Every action is thought out. Every word spoken is calculated for 
its effect. We speak of such persons as inhibited, and rightly so. But it 
would be more true were we to say that the “person” is not inhibited, 
but that the person has “inhibited” the creative mechanism. If these 
people could let go, stop trying, not care, and give no thought to the 
matter of their behavior, they could act creatively, spontaneously, and 
“be themselves.” 

In sports, it’s said, “You can’t win by playing not to lose.” In life, 
even in everyday situations, we might say the same. In fact, playing not 
to lose only serves to manufacture and magnify stress, thus increasing 
the likelihood of making mistakes, not vice versa. 


Five Prescriptions for Freeing 
Your Creative Machinery 

1. Once a decision is made, focus on supporting it, not second- 
guessing it. 

In the original book, I told of the business executive with a pen- 
chant for gambling on roulette, who gave me the idea: “Do your wor- 
rying before you place your bet, not after the wheel starts turning. ” 

I happened to quote to him the advice of William James, men- 
tioned earlier, to the effect that emotions of anxiety have their place in 
planning and deciding on a course of action, but that, “When once a 
decision is reached and execution is the order of the day, dismiss 
absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome. Unclamp, in 
a word, your intellectual and practical machinery, and let it run free.” 
Several weeks later he burst into my office to report, “It hit me 
all of a sudden,” he said, “during a visit to Las Vegas. I’ve been trying 
it and it works.” 

“What hit you and what works?” I asked. 

That advice of William James. It didn’t make too much of an impression 
when you told me, but while I was playing roulette it came back to me. I 
noticed any number of people who appeared not to worry at all before 
placing their bets. Apparently odds meant nothing to them. But once the 
wheel started turning, they froze up, and began to worry whether their 



1 08 Chapter Six 


number would come up or not. How silly, I thought. If they want to 
worry or be concerned or figure odds, the time to do that is before the 
decision is made to place a bet. There is something you can do about it 
then, by thinking about it. You can figure out the best odds possible, or 
decide not to take the risk at all. But after the bets are placed and the 
wheel starts turning, you might as well relax and enjoy it. Thinking about 
it is not going to do one bit of good, and is wasted energy. 

Then I got to thinking that I myself had been doing exactly the same 
thing in my business and in my personal life. I qften made decisions or 
embarked on courses of action, without adequate preparation, without 
considering all the risks involved and the best possible alternative. But 
after I had set the wheels in motion, so to speak, I continually worried 
over how it would come out, whether I had done the right thing. I made 
a decision right then that in the future I would do all my worrying, all my 
conscious thinking, before a decision was made, and that after making a 
decision, and setting the wheels in motion, I would “dismiss absolutely all 
care or responsibility about the outcome.” Believe it or not, it works. I 
not only feel better, sleep better, and work better, but my business is run- 
ning much smoother. 

I also discovered that the same principle works in a hundred different lit- 
tle personal ways. For example, I used to worry and fume about having to 
go to the dentist and other unpleasant tasks. Then I said to myself, “This 
is silly. You know the unpleasantness involved before you make the deci- 
sion to go. If the unpleasantness is all that important to cause so much 
concern, and not worth the worry involved, you can simply decide not to 
go. But, if the decision is that the trip is worth a little unpleasantness, and 
a definite decision is made to go — then forget about it. Consider the risk 
before the wheel starts turning.” I used to worry the night before I had 
to make a speech at a board meeting. Then I said to myself, “I’m either 
going to make the speech or I’m not. If the decision is to make it, then 
there’s no need in considering not making it — or trying to mentally run 
away from it.” I have discovered that much nervousness and anxiety is 
caused by mentally trying to escape or run away from something that you 
have decided to go through with physically. If the decision is made to go 
through with it — not to run away physically — why mentally keep consid- 
ering or hoping for escape. I used to detest social gatherings and go along 
only to please my wife, or for business reasons. I went, but mentally I 
resisted it, and was usually pretty grumpy and uncommunicative. Then I 
decided that if the decision was to go along physically, I might as well go 
along mentally — and dismiss all thoughts of resistance. Last night I not 
only went to what I would formerly have called a stupid social gathering, 
but I was surprised to find myself thoroughly enjoying it. 


One of the many conversations I had with business leaders after 
the publication of Psycho-Cybernetics focused on this story. I was con- 
ducting a seminar for the giant insurance corporation, Metropolitan 



How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 1 09 

Life, and on a break, one of the top executives mentioned the story of 
the man who worried too much after his decisions to me, and he said 
something I believe to be profoundly liberating: 

“Dr. Maltz, the truth is that there are few inherendy right deci- 
sions or wrong decisions. Instead, we make decisions, then make them 
right. That’s what leadership is all about.” 

The chairman of the world’s largest ad agency, McCann- 
Erickson, Nina DiSesa, was named by Fortune Magazine (in 2000) as 
one of the 50 most powerful women in American business. “You can 
always correct a poor decision, but if you do nothing, you can never get 
the time back,” she says. 


Prescription 

Strive for greater decisiveness and finality in small matters, to build the evi- 
dence shown to your self-image that you are the land of person who makes 
a firm decision, then ceases to worry over it. If in a restaurant with friends, 
do not be the person who agonizes over choices, even changes his mind after 
ordering. Pick something and close the menu. If shopping, pick and buy. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Consider creating a useful little mental picture or mental movie to use, 
immediately after reaching a decision, whether an important business or 
personal decision, choosing the golf club to use, or picking a tie to wear 
with your tan sports jacket. In the 2000 Presidential elections, in a differ- 
ent context, Vice-President A1 Gore became so famous for overusing the 
word “lock box” that television comedy programs and imitators had weeks 
of fun with it. “Lock box” is a good visualization for this: As soon as you 
make a decision, see yourself taking all the information, concerns, and pros 
and cons you sifted through to make it in a big pile into a storage room, 
putting it all into a large box or container of some kind and locking it shut. 
Then see yourself taking a sheet of paper on which the decision is written, 
sealing it in an envelope, marking “Done” with today’s date and time, then 
putting the envelope in the “Done” file cabinet drawer and locking it away 
as well. Finally, see yourself brushing your hands off like a man does after 
doing some kind of satisfying manual labor, turning out the light in the 






110 Chapter Six 


storage room, and walking out of the dark room into sunlight, like the ship 
sailing from dark into light in the painting given to me by Salvador Dali. 
After viewing this movie a few times, for the sake of speed, you can cut it 
up into stills or slides and view them quickly — click, click, click, click. 


2. The secret of focusing only on the here and now. 

There is a need to consciously consider goals, evaluate progress,' 
and construct plans, but such thinking needs to occur at appropriate 
times and places, set just for such purposes. The rest of the time, con- 
sciously practice the habit of “taking no anxious thought for tomor- 
row” by giving all your attention to the present moment. Your creative 
mechanism cannot function or work tomorrow — or even a minute 
from now. Only right now. It can only function in the present — today, 
the present moment. Make plans for tomorrow. But don’t try to live in 
tomorrow or in the past. Creative living means responding and reacting 
to environment spontaneously. Your creative mechanism can respond 
appropriately and successfully to present environment only if you have 
your full attention upon present environment and give it information 
concerning what is happening now. Plan all you want to for the future. 
Prepare for it. But don’t worry about how you will react tomorrow or 
even five minutes from now. Your creative mechanism will react 
appropriately in the now if you pay attention to what is happening 
now. It will do the same tomorrow. It cannot react successfully to what 
may happen, only to what is happening. 

I once dined with a president of a large corporation in a very 
pricey gourmet restaurant. He wolfed his dinner down quickly and 
still had a plate full of food. When I asked him about it he said, “I 
never taste food. I’m too busy thinking about other, more important 
things.” Well, he might as well get his nutrients from a pill. Someday 
I imagine it may come to that. But there are two troubling things 
about Mr. Dynamo’s approach: First, he is denying himself the great 
pleasure of a .fine dining experience, of sipping the wine, tasting each 
morsel, relishing how perfectly prepared is the cut of meat, how crisp 
and fresh the tomato. One can assume he misses out on many other 
sensual enjoyments of life as well. Second, his preoccupation is a con- 
ceit, not a genuine display of superior commitment, executive disci- 




How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 1 1 1 


pline, entrepreneurial zeal, or time efficiency. People cannot function 
at their best if moving at the fastest possible speed all' the time, with- 
out relief or recovery. It is a safe wager that he rarely is in the moment, 
fully focused and involved with only one thing or one person, and 
while that may impress others with his busy-ness, it will not lead to 
maximum utilization of his wisdom and capability. The following 
morning, based on my diagnosis, I called my broker and sold the 
shares of stock I held in the company captained by this fellow. 

You will have a far more enjoyable life and be a far more effective 
individual if you learn to mentally s-l-o-w yourself down enough to 
savor your experiences. 


Mental Training Exercise 

After you have left a place, such as a restaurant or shop, stop and see how 
much of it you can recall and describe in copious, exacting detail. In order 
to sharpen your powers of observation for this challenge, you will auto- 
matically slow yourself down and be more “there” (wherever you are). 

If you have read the accounts of the fictional (yet fact-based) detective 
Sherlock Holmes, you know that he demonstrated remarkable observatory 
powers, recalling and analyzing the minutest details. In one of these stories, 
the author, Arthur Conan Doyle, has the Dr. Watson character say to 
Holmes: “It seems obvious your faculty of observation and your peculiar 
facility for deduction are due to your own systematic training.” Doyle knew 
that the person he modeled Holmes after, his pathology professor at 
Edinburgh University, was well-known for his extraordinary powers of 
observation and had taken great pains to train his mind to capture all the 
minute detail of a scene, an experience, or a person. 


3. Try to do only one thing at a time. 

Another cause of confusion, as well as the resulting feelings of 
nervousness, hurry, and anxiety, is the absurd habit of trying to do 
many things at one time. The student studies and watches TV simul- 
taneously. The businessperson, instead of concentrating on and only 
trying to “do” the one letter that he is presently dictating, is thinking 
in the back of his mind of all the things he should accomplish today, or 
perhaps this week, and unconsciously trying mentally to accomplish 
them all at once. 






1 1 2 Chapter Six 


The habit is particularly insidious because it is seldom recog- 
nized for what it is. When we feel jittery, worried, or anxious in think- 
ing of the great amount of work that lies before us, the jittery feelings 
are not caused by the work, but by our mental attitude, which is, “I 
ought to be able to do this all at once.” We become nervous because 
we are trying to do the impossible, and thereby making futility and 
frustration inevitable. The truth is that we can only do one thing at a 
time. Realizing this, fully convincing ourselves of this simple and 
obvious truth, enables us to mentally stop trying to do the things that 
lie next and to concentrate all our awareness, all our responsiveness, 
on this one thing we are doing now. When we work with this attitude, 
we are relaxed, we are free from the feelings of hurry and anxiety, and 
we are able to concentrate and think at our best. 

If you watch much football on television, you have seen receivers 
drop balls that pass right through their hands, and hear the commen- 
tators explain that “he was running before he caught the ball” or “he 
must have heard footsteps.” In other words, instead of being totally 
focused on catching and securing the ball, he was worrying about 
other players converging on him, where he would go once he had the 
ball, even prematurely moving his body away from the ball. 

There’s a relatively new word for this in the occupational 
world — ’’multitasking” — and for most people, most of the time, it is an 
empty conceit. Be careful whom you emulate, the herd or the leader. 
Top performers stick with focus rather than multitasking. While many 
run-of-the-mill sales professionals talk with their clients on their cell 
phones while driving through traffic or even walking down a busy, 
noisy street, you will not catch the top sales pro doing that; you will 
find that when she has to make such a call, she does so in a place and 
at a time where she can give it 100% of her attention. While many 
run-of-the-mill executives permit continuous interruptions by phone, 
intercom, or walk-ins while they are meeting with someone or review- 
ing important information, the most successful executives I know tol- 
erate no such chaos. 


The Lesson of the Hourglass 

Dr. James Gordon Gilkey preached a sermon in 1944 called “Gaining 
Emotional Poise,” which was reprinted in Reader’s Digest and became 



How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 1 1 3 


a classic almost overnight. He had found, through many years of coun- 
seling, that one of the main causes of breakdown, worry, and all sorts 
of other personal problems was the bad mental habit of feeling that 
you should be doing many things now. Looking at the hourglass on his 
desk, he had an inspiration. Just as only one grain of sand could pass 
through the hourglass at a time, so could we only do one thing at a 
time. It is not the job, but the way we insist on thinking of the job that 
causes the trouble. 

Most of us feel hurried and harried, said Dr. Gilkey, because we 
form a false mental picture of our duties, obligations, and responsibil- 
ities. There seem to be a dozen different things pressing in on us at 
any given moment; a dozen different things to do; a dozen different 
problems to solve; a dozen different strains to endure. No matter how 
hurried or harried our existence may be, said Dr. Gilkey, this mental 
picture is entirely false. Even on the busiest day the crowded hours 
come to us one moment at a time; no matter how many problems, 
tasks, or strains we face, they always come to us in single file, which is 
the only way they can come. To get a true mental picture, he suggested 
visualizing an hourglass, with the many grains of sand dropping one by 
one. This mental picture will bring emotional poise, just as the false 
mental picture will bring emotional unrest. 

Another similar mental device that I have found very helpful to 
my patients is telling them: 

Your success mechanism can help you do any job, perform any cask, solve 
any problem. Think of yourself as “feeding” jobs and problems to your 
success mechanism as a scientist “feeds” a problem to an electronic brain. 

The “hopper” to your success mechanism can handle only one job at a 
time. Just as an electronic brain cannot give the right answer if three dif- 
ferent problems are mixed up and fed in at the same time, neither can 
your own success mechanism. Ease off on the pressure. Stop trying to 
cram into the machinery more than one job at a time. 


Prescription 

Purchase an hourglass and place it where you work most of the time, where 
it will catch your eye often. Place a small placard on it or next to it, on 
which you have written “One Grain at a Time.” 





114 Chapter Six 

4. Sleep on it. 

If you have been wrestling with a problem all day without mak- 
ing any apparent progress, try dismissing it from your mind and put- 
ting off making a decision until you’ve had a chance to “sleep on it.” 
Remember that your creative mechanism works best when there is not 
too much interference from your conscious “I.” In sleep, the creative 
mechanism has an ideal opportunity to work independently of con- 
scious interference, if you have previously started the wheels turning. 

Remember the fairy story about the Shoemaker and the Elves? 
The shoemaker found that if he cut out the leather, and laid out the 
patterns before retiring, little elves came and actually put the shoes 
together for him while he was sleeping. 

Many creative workers have used a very similar technique. Mrs. 
Thomas A. Edison has said that each evening her husband would go 
over in his mind those things which he hoped to accomplish the next 
day. Sometimes, he would make a list of the jobs he wanted to do and 
problems he hoped to solve. 

Edison’s well-known “cat-naps” were far more than mere respites 
from fatigue. Joseph Rossman, in the Psychology of Invention, says, 
“When stumped by something, he would stretch out in his Menlo 
workshop and, half-dozing, get an idea from his dream mind to help 
him around the difficulty.” 

Henry Ward Beecher once preached every day for 18 months. 
His method? He kept a number of ideas “hatching” and each night 
before retiring would select an “incubating idea” and “stir it up” by 
thinking intensely about it. The next morning it would have fitted 
itself together for a sermon. 

5. Relax while you work. 


Mental Training Exercise 

In Chapter Four you learned how to induce physical and mental relaxation 
while resting. Continue with the daily practice in relaxation, and you will 
become more and more proficient. In the meantime, you can induce some- 
thing of that relaxed feeling and the relaxed attitude, while going about 
your daily activities, if you will form the habit of mentally remembering the 
nice relaxed feeling that you induced. Stop occasionally during the day — it 
need only take a moment — and remember in detail the sensations of relax- 




How to Relax and Let Your Automatic Success Mechanism Work for You 115 


ation. Remember how your arms felt, your legs, back, neck, face. 
Sometimes forming a mental picture of yourself lying in bed or sitting 
relaxed and limp in an easy chair helps to recall the relaxed sensations. 
Mentally repeating to yourself several times, “I feel more and more 
relaxed” also helps. Practice this remembering faithfully several times each 
day. You will be surprised at how much it reduces fatigue and how much 
better you are able to handle situations. By relaxing and maintaining a 
relaxed attitude, you remove those excessive states of concern, tension, and 
anxiety, which interfere with the efficient operation of your creative mech- 
anism. In time, your relaxed attitude will become a habit, and you will no 
longer need to consciously practice it. 


Stressless Success 

Success without stress is, in one sense, as foolish an idea as weight loss 
without deprivation. However, the popular axiom “no pain, no gain” 
is just as foolish an idea. You were not intended to suffer and struggle 
mightily as if pushing a giant boulder up the side of a steep mountain 
for every accomplishment or satisfaction in life. Believing that to be 
true fact or moral imperative is a severely limiting belief, an opinion 
that guarantees you much misery. 

Throughout this chapter, and elsewhere in this book, I have used 
the terms “creative mechanism,” “automatic creative mechanism,” and 
“servo-mechanism” interchangeably, and I want to take a moment to 
clarify things. This mechanism has the ability to do much of the work 
you struggle to do through furrowed-brow conscious thought, worry, 
and calculation and teeth-gritted willpower. And it can do so with zero 
stress for you. You must learn to direct it and trust it, to delegate to it, 
and then let go. 

General George S. Patton said, “Never tell people how to do 
things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their inge- 
nuity.” The identical leadership principle applies to your relationship 
with your creative mechanism. Tell it what to do; let it pleasantly sur- 
prise you with its ingenuity! 

Think of this in terms of two executive styles: macromanagement 
and micromanagement. The executives I have seen age on the job are 
the micromanagers; evfen though they have armies of competent peo- 



116 Chapter Six 


pie at their beck and call, they cannot delegate even a trivial task like 
purchasing office supplies without micromanaging every detail of the 
endeavor and second-guessing the person charged with the task. 
Executives who can carry great responsibility without quickly becom- 
ing gray-haired and stooped over (physically, mentally, and emotion- 
ally) learn to delegate and let go, striving to most accurately express 
their intentions and objectives, then relying on a well-selected associ- 
ate to carry out their vision or directive. The micromanager often 
inhibits the growth and prosperity of the organization; the macro- 
manager often liberates it. 

Similarly, you are well advised not to micromanage your servo- 
mechanism. Such fussing over every detail is not necessary and often 
even counterproductive. Your job is to most accurately communicate 
your target; that communication determines whether your servo- 
mechanism operates as an Automatic Success or Failure Mechanism. 
By all means, let it do its work. There’s no good reason for both of you 
hiking the very same trail. 

My wife Anne had the, to me, odd habit of cleaning the house 
before the cleaning-person arrived on Wednesdays. I’m told Anne 
shares this habit with a great many women. The reason I say it is odd 
is that we have two people doing the same work. I wouldn’t hire a 
driver to chauffeur me through the congested streets of Manhattan, 
then have him sit in the passenger seat while I drive myself. Why 
would you clean your house, then hire a cleaning person to clean what 
you’ve just cleaned? I urge you, don’t “hire” your servo-mechanism to 
act on an imperative, then run around getting in its way trying to do 
its work before, during, and after it does. 



CHAPTER SEVEN 


You Can Acquire the 
Habit of Happiness 


Most people are quiet in the world, 
and live in it tentatively, as if it were not their own. 

— E.L. Doctorow 


I 

JL. pi 


just want to be happy” is a common answer, when 
people are asked about their goals in life. Mostly, 
this is just an excuse for not having given goals serious thought! They 
seek to escape into the vague and indefinable rather than confront the 
specific and measurable. However, there is a practical approach to 
happiness. 

In this chapter I will discuss the subject of happiness not from a 
philosophical, but from a medical standpoint. Dr. John A. Schindler’s 
definition of happiness is, “A state of mind in which our thinking is 
pleasant a good share of the time.” From a medical standpoint, and 
also from an ethical standpoint, I do not believe that simple definition 
can be improved on. It is what we are talking about in this chapter. 


Happiness Is Good Medicine 

Happiness is native to the human mind and its physical machine. We 
think better, perform better, feel better, and are healthier when we are 
happy. Even our physical sense organs work better. Russian psychol- 
ogist K. Kekcheyev tested people when they were thinking pleasant 
and unpleasant thoughts. He found that when thinking pleasant 


117 



118 Chapter Seven 


thoughts, they could see, taste, smell, and hear better, and they could 
detect finer differences in touch. Dr. William Bates proved that eye- 
sight improves immediately when the individual is thinking pleasant 
thoughts or visualizing pleasant scenes. Psychosomatic medicine has 
proved that our stomachs, liver, heart, and all our internal organs 
function better when we are happy. 

Medical traditionalists previously resistant to admitting direct 
connection between improving state of mind and curing illness were 
swayed by the publisher of the Saturday Evening Post, Norman 
Cousins’ now famous battle with cancer, in which he made use of 
“humor therapy sessions,” including viewing video tapes of The 
Three Stooges and Buster Keaton in his hospital room. Mr. Cousins’ 
remarkable and instructive experiences are detailed in his book, 
Anatomy of an Illness. Dr. Bernie Siegel has done outstanding work in 
the area of happiness therapy, and I suggest reading his books or hear- 
ing him lecture, if the opportunity arises. 

Dr. Schindler has said that unhappiness is the sole cause of all 
psychosomatic ills and that happiness is the only cure. The very word 
“disease” means a state of unhappiness — “dis-ease.” ■ 


Common Misconceptions About Happiness 

Happiness is not something that is earned or deserved. Happiness is 
not a moral issue, anymore than the circulation of the blood is a moral 
issue. Both are necessary to health and well-being. Happiness is sim- 
ply a “state of mind in which our thinking is pleasant a good share of 
the time.” If you wait until you “deserve” to think pleasant thoughts, 
you are likely to think unpleasant thoughts concerning your own 
unworthiness. “Happiness is not the reward of virtue,” said Spinoza, 
“but virtue itself; nor do we delight in happiness because we restrain 
our lusts; but, on the contrary, because we delight in it, therefore are 
we able to restrain them.” 


The Pursuit of Happiness Is Not Selfish 

Many sincere people are deterred from seeking happiness because 
they feel that it would be “selfish” or “wrong.” Unselfishness does 



You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 1 1 9 


make for happiness, for it not only gets our minds directed outward 
away from ourselves and our introspection, our faults, sins, troubles 
(unpleasant thoughts), or pride in our “goodness,” but it also enables 
us to express ourselves creatively and fulfill ourselves in helping oth- 
ers. One of the most pleasant thoughts to any human being is the 
thought that he is needed, that he is important enough and competent 
enough to help and add to the happiness of some other human being. 
However, if we make a moral issue out of happiness and conceive of it 
as something to be earned as a sort of reward for being unselfish, we 
are very apt to feel guilty about wanting happiness. Happiness comes 
from being and acting unselfishly, as a natural accompaniment to the 
being and acting, not as a “payoff’ or prize. If we are rewarded for 
being unselfish, the next logical step is to assume that the more self- 
abnegating and miserable we make ourselves, the more happy we will 
be. The premise leads to the absurd conclusion that the way to be 
happy is to be unhappy. 

There is a line: The best way I know to help the poor is not be one of 
them. Whether or not that is the best way, it is difficult to see how you 
help those in poverty by reducing your own success or standard of liv- 
ing, unless you erroneously believe in a universe of compensating bal- 
ances rather than unlimited abundance. Similarly, you cannot possibly 
help the unhappy by being one of them. 

A woman once told me, “My co-workers are both so miserable 
and frustrated in their jobs, so visibly unhappy at work, I feel bad 
about enjoying being there and doing my work, and fight my tendency 
to go about doing things cheerily so as not to annoy them or make 
them feel worse.” 

Happiness is not meted out in compensating balances. By being 
happy, she does not consume such an unfair and selfish quantity of 
finite available happiness that her co-workers are deprived of their 
share. By consciously suppressing and reducing her happiness, she 
does not make available a new supply of happiness that is automati- 
cally transferred to them. Happiness (or prosperity) is not a commod- 
ity like the last candy bar on a deserted island populated by three 
castaways or the last hour of oxygen in a sealed vault in which several 
people have been locked up. 



120 Chapter Seven 


Happiness Lies in the Present, Not in the Future 

“We are never living, but only hoping to live; and, looking forward 
always to being happy, it is inevitable that we never are so,” said 
philosopher Pascal. 

I have found that one of the most common causes of unhappiness 
among my patients is that they are attempting to live their lives on the 
deferred payment plan. They do not live, nor do they enjoy life now, 
but wait for some future event or occurrence. They will be happy 
when they get married, when they get a better job, when they get the 
house paid for, when they get the children through college, when they 
have completed some task or won some victory. Invariably, they are 
disappointed. Happiness is a mental habit, a mental attitude, and if it 
is not learned and practiced in the present it is never experienced. It 
cannot be made contingent on solving some external problem. When 
one problem is solved, another appears to take its place. Life is a series 
of problems. If you are to be happy at all, you must be happy — 
period! — not happy “because of.” 


Happiness Is a Mental Habit Which 
Can Be Cultivated and Developed 

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be,” 
said Abraham Lincoln. 

“Happiness is purely internal,” says psychologist Dr. Matthew N. 
Chappell. “It is produced, not by objects, but by ideas, thoughts, and 
attitudes which can be developed and constructed by the individual’s 
own activities, irrespective of the environment.” 

No one, other than a saint, can be 100% happy all the time. And, 
as George Bernard Shaw quipped, we would probably be miserable if 
we were. But we can, by taking thought and making a simple decision, 
be happy and think pleasant thoughts a large share of the time, regard- 
ing that multitude of little events and circumstances of daily living that 
now makes us unhappy. To a large extent we react to petty annoyances, 
frustrations, and the like with grumpiness, dissatisfaction, resentment, 
and irritability, purely out of habit. We have practiced reacting that way 
so long, it has become habitual. Much of this habitual unhappiness 



You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 121 


reaction originated because of some event that we interpreted as a blow 
to our self-esteem. A driver honks at us unnecessarily; someone inter- 
rupts and doesn’t pay attention while we’re talking; someone doesn’t 
come through for us as we think she should. Even impersonal events 
can be interpreted and reacted to as affronts to our self-esteem. The 
bus we wanted to catch had to be late; it had to go and rain when we 
had planned to play golf; traffic had to get into a snarl just when we 
needed to catch the plane. We react with anger, resentment, self-pity, 
or, in other words, unhappiness. 

A chief cause of unhappiness is taking things personally that are 
not personal at all. 


Stop Letting Things Push You Around 

The best cure I have found for this sort of thing is to use unhappiness’ 
own weapon — self-esteem. “Have you ever been to a TV show and 
seen the master of ceremonies manipulate the audience?” I asked a 
patient. “He brings out a sign that says ‘applause’ and everyone 
applauds. He brings out another that says ‘laughter’ and everyone 
laughs. They act like sheep, as if they were slaves, and meekly react as 
they are told to react. You are acting the same way. You are letting out- 
ward events and other people dictate to you how you shall feel and 
how you shall react. You are acting as an obedient slave and reacting 
when circumstance signals to you: ‘Be angry.’ ‘Get upset.’ ‘Now is the 
time to feel unhappy.’” 

Learning the happiness habit, you become a master instead of a 
slave, or, as Robert Louis Stevenson said, “The habit of being happy 
enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the domination of out- 
ward conditions.” 


Your Opinion Can Add to Unhappy Events 

Even in regard to tragic conditions, and the most adverse environ- 
ment, we can usually manage to be happier, if not completely happy, 
by not adding to the misfortune our own feelings of self-pity, resent- 
ment, and our own adverse opinions. 



122 Chapter Seven 


“How can I be happy?” the woman of an alcoholic husband asked 
me. “I don’t know,” I said, “but you can be happier by resolving not to 
add resentment and self-pity to your misfortune.” 

“How can I possibly be happy?” asked a businessman, “I have just 
lost $200,000 on the stock market. I am ruined and disgraced.” 

“You can be happier,” I said, “by not adding your own opinion to 
the facts. It is a fact that you lost $200,000. It is your opinion that you 
are ruined and disgraced.” 

I then suggested that he memorize a saying of Epictetus, which 
has always been a favorite of mine: “Men are disturbed,” said the sage, 
“not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that 
happen.” 


Happiness versus Unhappiness = 

Facts versus Opinions 

When I announced that I wanted to be a doctor, I was told that this 
could not be because my folks had no money. It was a fact that my 
mother had no money. It was only an opinion that I could never be a 
doctor. Later, I was told I could never take postgraduate courses in 
Germany and that it was impossible for a young plastic surgeon to 
hang out his own shingle and go into business for himself in New 
York. I did all these things, and one of the things that helped me was 
that I kept reminding myself that all these “impossibles” were opin- 
ions, not facts. I not only managed to reach my goals, but I was happy 
in the process, even when I had to pawn my overcoat to buy medical 
books and do without lunch in order to purchase cadavers. I was in 
love with a beautiful girl. She married someone else. These were facts. 
But I kept reminding myself that it was merely my opinion that this 
was a “catastrophe” and that life was not worth living. I not only got 
over it, but it turned out it was one of the luckiest things that ever hap- 
pened to me. 

In the years that have passed since first writing the original 
Psycho-Cybernetics book, I have often been asked by interviewers or 
audience members if I could boil Psycho-Cybernetics down to one 
idea or one statement or one skill that is the “make it or break it” fac- 
tor in successful versus unsuccessful living. When first asked this, I 



You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 1 23 


caught myself taking it personally and becoming a bit annoyed; how 
dare they trivialize all my work by suggesting it might be summarized 
on the head of a pin? Of course, that was me falsely interpreting peo- 
ples’ understandable desire to simplify the complex, not any disrespect 
to me personally Or to my work, and, fortunately, I practiced what I 
preach, used rational thought, and prevented this from being a blood- 
drawing needle stuck into my self-image. Which, not coincidentally, 
brings me to the answer to the “one big thing” question: 


The essence of Psycho-Cybernetics is the accurate, calm, 
and ultimately automatic separation of fact from fiction, 
fact from opinion, actual circumstance from magnified 
obstacle, so that our actions and reactions are solidly 
based on truth, not our own or others’ opinions. 


The Attitude That Makes for Happiness 

It has been pointed out earlier that since humans are goal-striving 
beings, they function naturally and normally when oriented toward a 
positive goal and striving toward a desirable goal. Happiness is a 
symptom of normal, natural functioning and when humans are func- 
tioning as goal-strivers, they tend to feel fairly happy, regardless of cir- 
cumstances. My young business executive friend was very unhappy 
because he had lost $200,000. Thomas A. Edison lost a laboratory 
worth millions in a fire with no insurance. “What in the world will you 
do?” someone asked. “We will start rebuilding tomorrow morning,” 
said Edison. He maintained an aggressive attitude, he was still goal- 
oriented despite his misfortune. And because he did maintain an 
aggressive goal-striving attitude, it is a good bet that he was never very 
unhappy about his loss. 

Looking back on my own life, I can see that some of the happi- 
est years were those when I was a struggling medical student living 
from hand to mouth in my early days of practice. Many times I was 
hungry. I was cold and ill-clad. I worked hard a minimum of about 12 
hours a day. Many times I did not know from month to month where 



1 24 Chapter Seven 


the money was coming from to pay my rent. But I did have a goal. I 
had a consuming desire to reach it and a determined persistence that 
kept me working toward it. 

I related all this to the young business executive and suggested 
that the real cause of his unhappy feeling was not that he had lost 
$200,000, but that he had lost his goal; he had lost his aggressive atti- 
tude, and was yielding passively rather than reacting aggressively. 

“I must have been crazy,” he told me later, “to let you convince 
me that losing the money was not what was making me unhappy, but 
I’m awfully glad that you did.” He stopped moaning about his misfor- 
tune, faced about, got himself another goal, and started working 
toward it. Within five years he not only had more money than ever 
before in his life, but for the first time he was in a business that he 
enjoyed. 


Prescription 

Form the habit of reacting aggressively and positively toward threats and 
problems. Form the habit of keeping goal-oriented all the time, regardless 
of what happens. Do this by practicing a positive aggressive attitude, both 
in actual everyday situations and in your imagination. See yourself in your 
imagination taking positive, intelligent action toward solving a problem or 
reaching a goal. See yourself reacting to threats not by running away or 
evading them, but by meeting them, dealing with them, grappling with 
them in an aggressive and intelligent manner. “Most people are brave only 
in the dangers to which they accustom themselves, either in imagination or 
practice,” said Bulwer-Lytton, the English novelist. 


Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness 

The idea that happiness, or keeping one’s thoughts pleasant most of 
the time, can be deliberately and systematically cultivated by practic- 
ing in a more or less cold-blooded manner, strikes many of my 
patients as rather incredible, if not ludicrous, when I first suggest it. 
Yet experience has shown not only that this can be done, but that it is 
about the only way that the habit of happiness can be cultivated. In 






You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 125 


the first place happiness isn’t something that happens to you. It is 
something you yourself do and determine. If you wait for happiness to 
catch up with you, just happen, or be brought to you by others, you 
are likely to have a long wait. No one can decide what your thoughts 
shall be but yourself. If you wait until circumstances justify your think- 
ing pleasant thoughts, you are also likely to wait forever. Every day is 
a mixture of good and evil; no day or circumstance is completely 100% 
“good.” The elements and facts in the world and in our personal lives 
at all times can justify either a pessimistic and grumpy outlook or an 
optimistic and happy outlook, depending on our choice. It is largely a 
matter of selection, attention, and decision. Nor is it a matter of being 
intellectually honest or dishonest. Good is as “real” as evil. It is merely 
a matter of what we choose to give primary attention to — and what 
thoughts we hold in the mind. 

In the charming David Mamet film, State and Main, released in 
early 2001, a young woman with a happy outlook is engaged in con- 
versation with a writer from the big city, somewhat bemused by her 
small town life. “You make your own fun?” he asks. “It is only fun if 
you make it,” she patiently explains. “If someone else does it for you, 
it is entertainment.” Similarly, we can make our own happiness 
because we can choose our own thoughts and even choose our own 
self-image, and we are well advised to do so rather than depending on 
someone else to do it for us. 


A Salesman Who Needed Surgery 
on His Thoughts Rather Than His Nose 

In my book for my medical colleagues, New Faces — New Futures, pub- 
lished back in 1936, 1 included a case history about a salesman named 
Arthur Williams who was involved in an automobile accident while 
traveling in his New England sales territory. A country doctor took 
care of him, and patched up his severely broken nose. When the band- 
ages were removed, his nose had reset in a very distorted manner. It 
was humped above, depressed in the middle and twisted to one side. 
When Mr. Williams resumed work, he soon became conscious of buy- 
ers seeming to focus their gaze on his disfigurement, to his and their 



126 Chapter Seven 


embarrassment. They seemed eager to rush through meetings with 
him. His sales volume declined rapidly. After several months of this, 
Mr. Williams determined he needed to correct this problem, and I 
operated on his nose, successfully completing plastic surgery that 
restored his preaccident appearance. It should come as no surprise that 
his self-confidence returned, and a natural upturn in his sales followed 
as day to night. 

Arthur Williams had a legitimate physical disfigurement, not 
exaggerated by his own negative imagination, and he accurately 
assessed others’ reactions to it, and, in my opinion, acted accordingly 
in seeking reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. 

However, for every Arthur Williams, there are a hundred men 
and women who suffer similarly, not because of others’ actual reac- 
tions to them, but because of their own negative imaginings. Robert 
Benjamin gave himself Arthur William’s problem, not in an auto acci- 
dent, but inside his own self-image. 

A young salesman, Mr. Benjamin, had made up his mind to quit 
his job when he consulted me about an operation on his nose. His nose 
was slightly larger than normal, but certainly not “repulsive,” as he 
insisted. He felt that prospects were secretly laughing at his nose or 
repulsed because of it. It was a fact that he had a large nose. It was a fact 
that three customers had called in to complain of his rude and hostile 
behavior. It was a fact that his boss had placed him on probation and 
that he hadn’t made a sale in two weeks. Instead of an operation on his 
nose, I suggested he perform surgery on his own thinking. For 2 1 days 
he was to cut out all these negative thoughts. He was to completely 
ignore all the negative and unpleasant facts in his situation, and delib- 
erately focus his attention upon pleasant thoughts. We agreed on some 
specific visualizations and affirmations. 

Quite honestly, I know that he agreed to the experiment with lit- 
tle belief it would alter anything; he was pacifying me in order to sched- 
ule the surgery he wanted. It is interesting that a person does not 
necessarily have to believe in the efficacy of Psycho-Cybernetics in 
order to test its concepts and find them useful. At the end of twenty- 
one days Mr. Benjamin not only felt better, but he found that prospects 
and customers had become much more friendly, his sales were steadily 
increasing, and his boss had publicly congratulated him in a sales meet- 
ing. He decided to “postpone” his surgery. 



You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 1 27 


Pattern Interrupt 

In her book Success Is An Inside Job, motivational speaker Lee Milteer 
describes this interesting technique: 

When your actions or performance does not meet your expectations, 
don’t belittle yourself with negative self-talk ... You must replace those 
images of yourself that do not create value in your life and which you do 
not want to continue. 

As an example, how many times have you caught yourself saying — 1 am 
always late. Now think about what you are programming yourself to be — 
late! 

“In the future, instead of reinforcing the unwanted habit, say to yourself: 
Cancel. That’s not like me. Next time I’ll .... 

Then you want to follow-up immediately with statements to imprint a 
new program. In this case: That’s not like me to be late. I always leave ten 
minutes early and I am always on time. 

Lee points out this is not an instant “fix.” However, we do need 
to catch and cancel the reoccurring, habitual affirmation of unwanted 
or unproductive behavior, to interrupt unhelpful patterns of thought, 
just as I cajoled and led Mr. Benjamin into doing. If you cancel the 
particular reoccurring piece of programming often and repetitively 
enough, the Automatic Failure Mechanism will stop going to all the 
trouble of sending it up to the surface. Your self-image will get the 
message: No point in giving out this information anymore if all she's going 
to do every time is yell “Cancel!" at us. Let's try something else. You see, we 
are always engaged in an undercurrent of running dialogue with our 
self-image. Through the use of the pattern-interrupt technique and 
emphatic, positive affirmation repeated each time, you become your 
own authoritative source repetitively programming the self-image. 
(Remember: Authoritative source, repetition, and intensity are the 
keys to this programming.) 

If happiness is, ultimately, the product of our collection of habits 
of thought, then the skill of altering a particular habit is extremely use- 
ful. Lee Milteer has appeared as a guest expert on hundreds of radio 
talk shows to talk about “habit busting,” and has her own Psycho- 
Cybemetics-based audio cassette program on this subject, which you 
may want to avail yourself of. 



128 Chapter Seven 


An Exercise for Canceling Negative Thoughts 

Martial arts movie star Bruce Lee had an exercise for ridding himself 
of negative thoughts: He visualized himself writing them down on a 
piece of paper, crumpling up the paper, lighting it on fire, and burn- 
ing it to ashes. 

Actor and entrepreneur Chuck Norris, a close friend of the late 
Bruce Lee, takes Lee’s exercise even further. In his book The Secret 
Power Within You, Norris wrote, “I actually write down on a scrap of 
paper whatever negative thoughts I have and then burn them. When 
I dispose of the ashes, the thoughts, too, are removed from my mind.” 
I would point out that these people — Lee MiltCer, a successful 
businesswoman; Chuck Norris, a martial arts practitioner and very 
successful actor, producer, and businessman — are not “heads in the 
clouds” type people, not childish or foolish at all. They are pragma- 
tists of the highest order, who have found simple, practical things to 
do, to take control of their thoughts in a purposeful manner. 


To Be Happy, We Must Make a Sacrifice 

A sacrifice? Yes, you may need to sacrifice skepticism, cynicism, old 
habits and beliefs, which, even though they do not serve you well, are 
“comfortable.” 

In Daniel Defoe’s classic novel Robinson Crusoe, when Crusoe is 
shipwrecked on the deserted island, he makes his camp near the place 
where he washed ashore. But as he began exploring the entire island, 
he soon recognized that, for all practical purposes, he had camped on 
the wrong side of the island. The opposite side offered a better supply 
of food, it was easier to create shelter there, and so forth. But even 
though Crusoe saw this to be true, he was still reluctant to move! 

We cannot let “our reluctance to move” imprison our self-image 
and servo-mechanism! When our rational thought tells us something 
is not working for us, we have to move forward to try something else. 
A popular axiom defines “insanity” as the insistence on doing the same 
thing over and over while hoping for different results. My friend, you 
are not a tree, deeply rooted in any one psychological or behavioral 
place, unable to move to a sunnier spot. Like Crusoe, you may be 
reluctant to uproot yourself, but you can\ 



You Can Acquire the Hobit of Happiness 1 29 


A Scientist Tests the Theory of Happiness and 
Uproots Himself from Unhappiness 

Dr. Elwood Worcester, in his book Body, Mind and Spirit, relates the 
testimony of a world-famous scientist: 

Up to my fiftieth year I was an unhappy, ineffective man. None of the 
works on which my reputation rests were published ... I lived in a con- 
stant sense of gloom and failure. Perhaps my most painful symptom was 
a blinding headache which recurred usually two days of the \\eek, during 
which I could do nothing. 

I had read some of the literature of New Thought, which at the time 
appeared to be buncombe, and some statement of William James on the 
directing of attention to what is good and useful and ignoring the rest. 

One saying of his stuck in my mind, “We might have to give up our phi- 
losophy of evil, but what is that in comparison with gaining a life of good- 
ness?”, or words to that effect. Hitherto these doctrines had seemed to 
me only mystical theories, but realizing that my soul was sick and grow- 
ing worse and that my life was intolerable, I determined to put them to 
the proof ... I decided to limit the period of conscious effort to one 
month, as I thought this time long enough to prove its value or its worth- 
lessness to me. During this month I resolved to impose certain restric- 
tions on my thoughts. If I thought of the past, I would try to let my mind 
dwell only on its happy, pleasing incidents, the bright days of my child- 
hood, the inspiration of my teachers and the slow revelation of my life- 
work. In thinking of the present, I would deliberately turn my attention 
to its desirable elements, my home, the opportunities my solitude gave 
me to work, and so on, and I resolved to make the utmost use of these 
opportunities and to ignore the fact that they seemed to lead to nothing. 

In thinking of the future I determined to regard every worthy and possi- 
ble ambition as within my grasp. Ridiculous as this seemed at the time, in 
view of what has come to me since, I see that the only defect of my plan 
was that it aimed too low and did not include enough. 

He then tells how his headaches ceased within one week and how 
he felt happier and better than ever before in his life. But he adds: 

The outward changes of my life, resulting from my change of thought 
have surprised me more than the inward changes, yet they spring from 
the latter. There were certain eminent men, for example, whose recogni- 
tion I deeply craved. The foremost of those wrote me, out of a clear sky, 
and invited me to become his assistant. My works have all been pub- 
lished, and a foundation has been created to publish all that I may write 
in the future. The men with whom I have worked have been helpful and 
cooperative toward me chiefly on account of my changed disposition. 



1 30 Chapter Seven 


Formerly they would not have endured me ... As I look back over all these 
changes, it seems to me that in some blind way I stumbled on a path of 
life and set forces to working for me which before were against me. 

I’m certain Dr. Worcester’s book is long out of print. His story is 
only still significant because of the heavy skepticism he held for the 
ideas he experimented with, which ultimately set him free. While still 
in practice, I have many times given someone a Psycho-Cybernetics 
prescription, a psychologic experiment to try for just thirty days, with 
the promise that if they still wanted the cosmetic surgery performed 
after doing the experiment, I would do so. In these cases, these people 
often followed my instructions as best they could grudgingly and skep- 
tically, initially merely with the intent of pacifying me so that they 
could get what they wanted; some physical deformity, magnified in 
their imagination to epic proportions, removed or altered. 

Even with skepticism in the way, these techniques performed 
noticeable results, and many times the discoveries they made about 
themselves and their thinking were as clear to them as to Worcester, 
or to the aforementioned Benjamin, and after thirty days, they no 
longer wanted surgery. 


How an Inventor Used "Happy-Thoughts" 

Professor Elmer Gates of the Smithsonian Institution was one of the 
most successful inventors this country has ever known and a recog- 
nized genius. He made a daily practice of “calling up pleasant ideas 
and memories” and believed that this helped him in his work. If a per- 
son wants to improve himself, he said, “Let him summon those finer 
feelings of benevolence and usefulness, which are called up only now 
and then. Let him make this a regular exercise like swinging dumb- 
bells. Let him gradually increase the time devoted to these psycholog- 
ical gymnastics, and at the end of a month he will find the change in 
himself surprising. The alteration will be apparent in his actions and 
thoughts. Morally speaking, the man will be a great improvement of 
his former self.” 

Gates’ use of the term “psychological gymnastics” led to identi- 
fying the various exercises and techniques presented in the original 
book, this book, my other books, and my twelve-week home study 



You Can Acquire the Habit of Happiness 131 


course as “mental training exercises.” While the analogy of self-image 
to muscle is not precisely correct, the deliberate daily practice of cer- 
tain techniques — such as the construction and playing of positive 
mental movies in The Theater of Your Mind, relaxation, and so 
forth — does strengthen your self-image and does ultimately lead to 
truly automatic Psycho-Cybernetic responses to situations. 

The present-day rule for adequate physical exercise is thirty- 
minute sessions, at least three days a week. I can assure you: Give that 
same minimum investment to Psycho-Cybernetics “gymnastics” and 
you will quite literally change your life. 


How to "Install" the Happiness Habit 

Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and 
you automatically change the other. The word “habit” originally 
meant a garment or clothing. We still speak of riding habits and habil- 
iments. This gives us an insight into the true nature of habit. Our 
habits are literally garments worn by our personalities. They are not 
accidental or happenstance. We have them because they fit us. They 
are consistent with our self-image and our entire personality pattern. 
When we consciously and deliberately develop new and better habits, 
our self-image tends to outgrow the old habits and grow into the new 
pattern. 

I can see many patients cringe when I mention changing habit- 
ual action patterns or acting out new behavior patterns until they 
become automatic. They confuse “habit” with “addiction.” An addic- 
tion is something you feel compelled to, something that causes severe 
withdrawal symptoms. Treatment of addiction is beyond the scope of 
this book. If you do suffer from a physical, chemical, or even emo- 
tional addiction, the most important things that I can say to you rela- 
tive to your self-image is that the decision and action to seek help is 
not an admission of weakness but a special, courageous kind of 
strength. 

Habits, on the other hand, are merely reactions and responses 
that we have learned to perform automatically without having to think 
or decide. They are performed by our servo-mechanism. 

Fully 95% of our behavior, feeling, and response is habitual. The 
pianist does not “decide” which keys to strike. The dancer does not 



132 Chapter Seven 


“decide” which foot to move where. The reaction is automatic and 
unthinking. 

In much the same way our attitudes, emotions, and beliefs tend 
to become habitual. In the past we “learned” that certain attitudes and 
ways of feeling and thinking were “appropriate” to certain situations. 
Now, we tend to think, feel, and act the same way whenever we 
encounter what we interpret as the same sort of situation. 

Arguments between longtime spouses or business partners 
become habitual. You say this to me, I say this to you, and back and 
forth, reenacting the identical script, responding in exactly the same 
way to the same stimulus. 

What we need to understand is that these habits, unlike addic- 
tions, can be modified, changed, or reversed, simply by taking the 
trouble to make a conscious decision, and then by practicing or acting out 
the new response or behavior. The pianist can consciously decide to 
strike a different key, if he chooses. The dancer can consciously 
“decide” to learn a new step — and there is no agony about it. The 
partner can decide to break the pattern and imaginatively engineer a 
different outcome to a familiar argument. It does require constant 
watchfulness and practice until the new behavior pattern is thoroughly 
learned, but it most assuredly can be accomplished. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Habitually, you put on either your right shoe first or your left shoe. 
Habitually, you tie your shoes by either passing the right-hand lace around 
the left-hand lace, or vice versa. Tomorrow morning determine which shoe 
you put on first and how you tie your shoes. Now, consciously decide that 
for the next thirty days you are going to form a new habit by putting on the 
other shoe first and tying your laces in a different way. Now, each morning 
as you decide to put on your shoes in a certain manner, let this simple act 
serve as a reminder to change other habitual ways of thinking, acting, and 
feeling throughout that one day. Say to yourself as you tie your shoes, “I am 
beginning the day in a new and better way.” Then consciously decide that 
throughout the day: 

1 . I will be as cheerful as possible. 

2. I will act a little more friendly toward other people. 



You Con Acquire the Habit of Happiness 1 33 


3. I am going to be a little less critical and a little more tolerant of other 
people, their faults, failings, and mistakes. I will place the best possible 
interpretation on their actions. 

4. Insofar as possible, I am going to act as if success were inevitable, and I 
already am the sort of personality I want to be. I will practice acting like 
and feeling like this new personality. 

5. I will not let my own opinion color facts in a pessimistic or negative way. 

6. I will practice smiling at least three times during the day. 

7. Regardless of what happens, I will react as calmly and as intelligently as 
possible. 

8. I will ignore completely and close my mind to all those pessimistic and 
negative “facts” that I can do nothing to change. 

Simple? Yes. But each of these habitual ways of acting, feeling, and think- 
ing has beneficial and constructive influence on your self-image. Act them 
out for thirty days. Experience them, and see if worry, guilt, hostility have 
not been diminished and if confidence has not been increased. 


CHAPTER EIGHT 


Ingredients of the 
“Success-Type” Personality 
and How to Acquire Them 


You are today where your thoughts have brought you. 

You wilt be tomorrow where your thoughts take you. 

— James Allen 


D iagnosis: Destined for success! Just as a doc- 
tor learns to diagnose disease from certain 
symptoms, failure and success can also be diagnosed. The reason is 
that people do not simply find success or come to failure. They carry 
the seeds around in their personality and character; they plant them 
with their habits of thought and action. 

I have found one of the most effective means of helping people 
achieve an adequate or “successful” personality is to first give them a 
graphic picture of what the successful personality looks like. 
Remember, the creative guidance mechanism within you is a goal- 
striving mechanism, and the first requisite for using it is to have a 
clear-cut goal or target. A great many people want to improve them- 
selves and long for a better personality, but they have no clear-cut idea 
of the direction in which improvement lies, nor what constitutes a 
good personality. A good personality is one that enables you to deal 
effectively and appropriately with environment and reality, and to 
gain satisfaction from reaching the goals that are important to you. 

Time and again, I have seen confused and unhappy people 
straighten themselves out when they were given a goal to shoot for 
and a straight course to follow. There was the advertising man in his 


134 



Ingredients of the “ Success-Type " Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 35 

early forties, for example, who felt strangely insecure and dissatisfied 
with himself just after receiving an important promotion. 


New Roles Require New Self-Images 

“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “I’ve worked for this, and dreamed 
about it. It’s just what I’ve always wanted. I know I can do the work. 
And yet, for some reason, my self-confidence is shaken. I suddenly 
wake up, as if from a dream, and ask myself, ‘What in the world is a 
small potato like me doing in a job like this?”’ He had become super- 
sensitive to his appearance and thought perhaps that his “weak chin” 
might be the cause of his discomfort. “I don’t look like a business exec- 
utive,” he said. He felt plastic surgery might be the answer to his prob- 
lem. 

There was the wife and mother whose children were “running 
her crazy” and whose husband irritated her so much that she engaged 
in a shouting tirade at him at least once a week for little cause. “What 
is the matter with me?” she asked. “My children are really nice kids I 
should be proud of. My husband is really a nice guy, and I’m always 
ashamed of myself afterwards.” She felt that a face lift might give her 
more confidence, and cause her family to “appreciate her more.” 

The trouble with these people, and many more like them, is not 
their physical appearance but their self-image. They find themselves 
in a new role and are not sure what kind of a person they are supposed 
to be in order to live up to that role. Or they have never developed a 
clear-cut self-image of themselves in any role. 


The Picture of Success 

In this chapter I am going to give you the same “prescription” that I 
would give you should you come to my office. I have found that an 
easy-to-remember picture of the successful personality is contained in 
the letters of the word “Success” itself. The “Success-type” personal- 
ity is composed of: 



136 Chapter Eight 


Sense of direction 

Understanding 

Courage 

Charity (compassion) 
Esteem 

Self-confidence 

Self-acceptance 


Sense of Direction 

The advertising executive straightened himself out and regained his 
confidence within a short time, once he saw clearly that for several 
years he had been motivated by strong personal goals that he wanted 
to attain, including securing his present position. These goals, which 
were important to him, kept him on the track. However, once he got 
the promotion, he ceased to think in terms of what he wanted, but in 
terms of what others expected of him, or whether he was living up to 
other people’s goals and standards. He was like a mountain climber 
who, as long as he looked upward to the peak he wished to scale, felt 
and acted courageously and boldly. But when he got to the top, he 
began to look down and became afraid. He was now on the defensive, 
defending his present position, rather than acting like a goal striver 
and going on the offensive to attain his goal. He regained control 
when he set himself new goals and began to think in terms of, “What 
do I want out of this job? What do I want to achieve? Where do I want 
to go?” 

In a television program about Psycho-Cybernetics, we put the 
host on a bicycle and instructed him to put both feet up on the pedals 
and stay stationary, in one place. Try it yourself; it can’t be done. 
Functionally, a person is somewhat like a bicycle. A bicycle maintains 
its poise and equilibrium only as long as it is going forward toward 
something. Similarly, we are engineered as goal-seeking mechanisms. 
We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals, 
and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles 
to conquer and goals to achieve. People who say that life is not worth- 
while are really saying that they themselves have no worthwhile per- 
sonal goals. 




Ingredients of the “ Success-Type " Personality and How to Acquire Them 137 


Prescription 

Earlier in this book we covered a number of ways to put your imagination 
to work, to come up with a new or more clearly defined target or targets for 
you to focus on, and assign your Automatic Success Mechanism. This is a 
good time to do so. Get yourself a goal worth working for. Better still, get 
yourself a project. Decide what you want out of a situation. Always have 
something ahead of you tb look forward to — to work for and hope for. 
Look forward, not backward. Develop a “nostalgia for the future” instead 
of for the past. The nostalgia for the future can keep you youthful. Even 
your body doesn’t function well when you stop being a goal striver and have 
nothing to look forward to. This is the reason that very often a person dies 
shortly after retirement. When you’re not goal-striving, not looking for- 
ward, you’re not really living. In addition to your purely personal goals, 
have at least one impersonal goal or cause, which you can identify yourself 
with. Get interested in some project to help your fellow man, not out of a 
sense of duty, but because you want to. 


Understanding 

Understanding depends on good communication. Communication is 
vital to any guidance system or computer. You cannot react appropri- 
ately if the information you act on is faulty or misunderstood. Many 
doctors believe that “confusion” is the basic element in neurosis. To 
deal effectively with a problem, you must have some understanding of 
its true nature. Most of our failures in human relations are due to mis- 
understandings. 

We expect other people to react and respond and come to the same 
conclusions as we do from a given set of facts or circumstances. We 
should remember what we said in an earlier chapter: People react to 
their own mental images, not to things as they are. Most of the time oth- 
ers’ reactions or positions are not taken to make us suffer, to be hard- 
headed or malicious, but because they “understand” and interpret the 
situation differendy from us. They are merely responding appropriately 
to what — to them — seems to be the truth about the situation. T) give 
others credit for being sincere, if mistaken, rather than willful and mali- 
cious, can do much to smooth out human relations and bring about bet- 
ter understanding between people. Ask yourself, “How does this appear 






1 38 Chapter Eight 


to him?” “How does she interpret this situation?” “How does he feel 
about it?” Try to understand why he might act the way he does. 

Fact versus Opinion. Many times, we create confusion when we add 
our own opinion to facts and come up with the wrong conclusion. 
Fact: A husband cracks his knuckles. Opinion: The wife concludes, 
“He does that because he thinks it will annoy me.” Fact: The husband 
sucks his teeth after eating. Opinion: The wife concludes, “If he had 
any regard for me, he would improve his manners.” Fact: Two friends 
are whispering when you walk up. Suddenly they stop talking and look 
somewhat embarrassed. Opinion: They must have been gossiping 
about me. 

The wife, if able to understand that her husband’s annoying man- 
nerisms were not deliberate and willful acts on his part for the purpose 
of annoying her, if able to stop reacting as if she had been personally 
insulted, is able to pause, analyze the situation, and select an appro- 
priate, even productive response. 

Be Willing to See the Truth. Often we color incoming sensory data 
by our own fears, anxieties, or desires. But to deal effectively with 
environment, we must be willing to acknowledge the truth about it. 
Only when we understand what it is can we respond appropriately. We 
must be able to see the truth and accept it, good or bad. Bertrand 
Russell said one reason Hitler lost World War II was that he did not 
fully understand the situation. Bearers of bad news were punished. 
Soon no one dared tell him the truth. Not knowing the truth, he could 
not act appropriately. We can be glad this occurred. 

The shoot-the-messenger mentality has doomed any number of 
military leaders, business leaders, coaches, parents. It’s been widely 
reported that Saddam Hussein practices this, with much the same 
result as Hitler’s. Literally shooting bearers of bad news is horrific 
enough, but the crime of shooting ourselves rather than rationally 
dealing with accurate information is arguably worse! 

We do not like to admit to ourselves our errors, mistakes, or 
shortcomings; nor do we like to admit we have been in the wrong. We 
do not like to acknowledge that a situation is other than we would like 
it to be. So we kid ourselves. And because we will not see the truth, we 
cannot act appropriately. Someone has said that it is a good exercise to 
daily admit one painful fact about ourselves to ourselves. The Sliccess- 
type personality not only does not cheat and lie to other people, he 



Ingredients of the “Success-Type" Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 39 


learns to be honest with himself. What we call “sincerity” is itself 
based on self-understanding and self-honesty. For you cannot be sin- 
cere when you lie to yourself by rationalizing or telling yourself 
“rational-lies.” 

You can do this if you accept yet another fundamental premise of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, to safeguard and strengthen your self-image: You 
are not your mistakes. Your tortured backswing and wicked slice does 
not make you a “disgrace to the game of golf,” let alone a bad, inept, 
or unsuccessful person; it is only a mechanical and mental mistake that 
can be corrected. 

A top corporate CEO once told me, “I’ve become somewhat 
famous thanks to several very notable astute decisions. But I’ve made 
a number of incredi bly bad ones too. I am neither my best or my worst 
decision. I am a successful, capable executive who makes his fair share 
of blunders, and that’s all there is to it.” 

When you thoroughly accept that you are not your mistakes, you 
are freed to acknowledge them, learn from them, set them aside, and 
move on from them without being mired in them. 


Prescription 

Look for and seek out true information concerning yourself, your prob- 
lems, other people, or the situation, whether it is good news or bad news. 
Adopt the motto, “It doesn’t matter who’s right, but what’s right.” An auto- 
matic guidance system corrects its course from negative feedback data. It 
acknowledges errors in order to correct them and stay on course. So must 
you. Admit your mistakes and errors but don’t cry over them. Correct them 
and go forward. In dealing with other people, try to see the situation from 
their point of view as well as your own. 


Courage 

Having a goal and understanding the situation are not enough. You 
must have the courage to act, for only by actions can goals, desires, 
and beliefs be translated into realities. 

Admiral William F. Halsey’s personal motto was a quotation 
from Nelson, “No Captain can do very wrong if he places his Ship 






140 Chapter Eight 


alongside that of an Enemy.” ‘“The best defense is a strong offense,’ 
is a military principle,” said Halsey, “but its application is wider than 
war. All problems, personal, national, or combat, become smaller if 
you don’t dodge them, but confront them.” 

How can you live more courageously? That’s a question ably 
answered by Psycho-Cybernetics. When you systematically 
strengthen your self-image, and understand that you are not your mis- 
takes, you find it infinitely easier to take risks without undue worry 
over what others will think or temporarily appearing foolish if you 
stumble. How can you be more assertive and forceful in advocating 
your ideas in the workplace? How can you more clearly and assertively 
ask for the order at the conclusion of a sales presentation? How can 
you take to the dance floor even if you’ve too long believed “you have 
two left feet?”*+ How can you embark on an entirely new career or 
avocation late in life when axiomatically “it’s tough for an old dog to 
learn new tricks?” How do you bounce back from severe adversity? 
These are all examples of living courageously, and they all require a 
bulletproof self-image that can stand up under pressure. 


Why Not Bet on Yourself? 

Nothing in this world is ever absolutely certain or guaranteed. Often 
the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one’s 
better abilities nor ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on ideas, 
to take a calculated risk, and to act. 

We often think of courage in terms of heroic deeds on the bat- 
tlefield, in a shipwreck, or during a crisis. But everyday living requires 
courage too. 

Standing still — failure to act — causes people who are faced with 
a problem to become nervous, to feel stymied or trapped, and it can 
bring on a host of physical symptoms. 

I tell such people: 

Study the situation thoroughly, go over in your imagination the various 
courses of action possible to you and the consequences that can and may 
follow from each course. Pick out the course that gives the most prom- 
ise — and go ahead. If we wait until we are absolutely certain and sure 
before we act, we will never do anything. Any time you act, you can be 
wrong. Any decision you make can turn out to be the wrong one. But we 



Ingredients of the “ Success-Type " Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 41 


must not let this deter us from going after the goal we want. You must 
daily have the courage to risk making mistakes, risk failure, risk being 
humiliated. A step in the wrong direction is better than staying “on the 
spot” all your life. Once you’re moving forward, you can correct your 
course as you go. Your automatic guidance system cannot guide you 
when you’re stalled, standing still. 

Lee Iacocca has said that decisiveness is the number-one charac- 
teristic he looked for in key people to surround himself with and 
depend on. General Norman Schwarzkopf has said that leadership 
requires making decisions. 

Most leaders agree that success comes from decisiveness and 
course correction, not long delays and procrastination to attempt 
making only flawless choices. Few successes are achieved via a straight 
line, from point A to point B, from idea to fruition. Most successes are 
achieved in a zig-zag manner. 


Prescription 

Be willing to make a few mistakes, to suffer a little pain to get what you 
want. Don’t sell yourself short. “Most people,” said General R. E. 
Chambers, once Chief of the Army’s Psychiatry and Neurology Consultant 
Division, “don’t know how brave they really are. In fact, many potential 
heroes, both men and women, live out their lives in self-doubt. If they only 
knew they had these deep resources, it would help give them the self- 
reliance to meet most problems, even a big crisis.” You’ve got the resources. 
But you never know you’ve got them until you act — and give them a chance 
to work for you. 


Another helpful suggestion is to practice acting boldly and with 
courage in regard to “little things.” Do not wait until you can be a big 
hero in some dire crisis. Daily living also requires courage. By prac- 
ticing courage in little things, we develop the power and talent to act 
courageously in more important matters. 

Charity 

For a time I gave a lecture titled “How to Have Self-Respect in a 
Disrespectful World.” Just as the world of accelerating stress that I 






1 42 Chapter Eight 


observed in the late 1950s and 1960s was a kindergarten compared to 
today’s frenetic pace, the growing lack of civility and respect I noticed 
in the 1960s and 1970s was only a modest preview of today’s world. 
Daily living is a virtual assault on self-respect, as the companies we 
deal with treat us as numbers in the computer; individual tradespeo- 
ple, store clerks, waiters, and the like are too often rushed, harried, 
rude, unhappy in their jobs and taking it out on the customer; often 
we cannot even get through to a human being by telephone! 
Everywhere, as the pace has quickened, civility has been sacrificed. 

All this makes my original comments all the more important: In 
my lecture I said that the disrespectful world is made better or worse 
minute by minute for each individual participant in it, in a mirror reflec- 
tion of two things: the person’s own self-image and respect for others. 

Successful personalities have interest in and regard for other peo- 
ple. They have a respect for others’ problems and needs. They respect 
the dignity of human personality and deal with other people as if they 
were human beings, rather than as pawns in their own game. They 
recognize that every person is a child of God and is a unique individ- 
uality that deserves some dignity and respect. 

It is a psychologic fact that our feelings about ourselves tend to 
correspond to our feelings about other people. When a person begins 
to feel more charitably about others, he invariably begins to feel more 
charitably toward himself. Persons who feel that people are not very 
important cannot have very much deep-down respect and regard for 
themselves. One of the best known methods of getting over a feeling 
of guilt is to stop condemning other people in your own mind — stop 
judging them, stop blaming them, and stop hating them for their mis- 
takes. You will develop a better and more adequate self-image when 
you begin to feel that other people are more worthy. 

Another reason that charity toward other people is symptomatic 
of the successful personality is that it means the person is dealing with 
reality. People are important. People cannot for long be treated like 
animals or machines or as pawns to secure personal ends. 

Treating everyone with respect is charity because it is not always, 
instantly, individually reciprocated. You cannot view it as transac- 
tional, instead you must see the big picture and act in this manner as 
a means of strengthening your own self-image, and as your contribu- 
tion to society in general. 



Ingredients of the "Success-Type" Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 43 


Prescription 

The prescription for charity is three-fold: (1) Try to develop a genuine 
appreciation for people by realizing the truth about them; they are children 
of God, unique personalities, creative beings. (2) Take the trouble to stop 
and think of the other person’s feelings, viewpoints, desires, and needs. 
Think more of what the other fellow wants, and how he must feel. A friend 
of mine kids his wife by telling her, whenever she asks him, “Do you love 
me?” “Yes, whenever I stop and think about it.” There is a lot of truth in 
this. We cannot feel anything about other people unless we “stop and 
think” about them. (3) Act as if other people are important and treat them 
accordingly. 


Esteem 

Many years ago I wrote a contribution to the “Words to Live By” fea- 
ture of This Week Magazine on the words of Carlyle, “Alas! the fearful 
Unbelief is unbelief in yourself.” At that time I said: “Of all the traps 
and pitfalls in life, self-disesteem is the deadliest, and the hardest to 
overcome; for it is a pit designed and dug by our own hands, summed 
up in the phrase, ‘It’s no use — I can’t do it.’ “ 

The penalty of succumbing to it is heavy, both for the individual 
in terms of material rewards lost and for society in gains and progress 
unachieved. 

As a doctor I might also point out that defeatism has still another 
aspect, a curious one, which is seldom recognized. It is more than pos- 
sible that the words quoted above are Carlyle’s own confession of the 
secret that lay behind his own craggy assertiveness, his thunderous 
temper and waspish voice, and his appalling domestic tyranny. 

Carlyle, of course, was an extreme case. But isn’t it on those days 
when we are most subject to the “fearful Unbelief,” when we most 
doubt ourselves and feel inadequate to our task, isn’t it precisely then 
that we are most difficult to get along with? 

We simply must get it through our heads that holding a low 
opinion of ourselves is not a virtue, but a vice. Jealousy, for example, 
which is the scourge of many a marriage, is nearly always caused by 
self-doubt. Persons with adequate self-esteem don’t feel hostile toward 






144 Chapter Eight 


others; they aren’t out to prove anything. They can see facts more 
' clearly and aren’t as demanding in their claims on other people. 

Self-doubt is insidious, and gnaws away at the self-image as can- 
cer eats away at the body’s organs. 

Beware the Thief of Happiness, the Critic Within. In her out- 
standing book Liberating Everyday Genius , Dr. Mary-Elaine Jacobsen 
writes, “The false self is a powerful adversary, one whose sharp- 
tongued admonitions can be heard in every situation of self-doubt, a 
foe that keeps us from our true selves and sometimes distances us from 
others.” She also wrote, “Magically, when there is no enemy within, 
there are far fewer without.” If there was ever a great sales pitch writ- 
ten for investing time and energy working with Psycho-Cybernetics 
and yourself, that statement is it! 

In coming chapters I’ll again discuss controlling The Critic 
Within, who is, in fact, the thief of happiness, self-acceptance, self- 
esteem, and peace of mind, far more influential than any critics we 
encounter around us. 

Just as the astute corporate president learns she must listen to 
others’ opinions in order to move forward, she also learns she must 
exercise caution and discretion about whose opinions she listens to 
and on what foundation they are based. We must listen to our inner 
voices, but we must exercise caution! 

When The Critic Within begins to harp and belittle us, we 
should not hesitate to yell “Stop!” and send it back to its dark corner, 
properly chastised for doubting us. 

I was once asked in a radio interview if, at age 65, when I set out 
to write, have published, and popularize the original edition of this 
book, I hadn’t thought: What makes you think people will care about 
the thoughts of an elderly plastic surgeon in the twilight of his career, 
on the workings of the human mind? I replied that it had honestly not 
occurred to me, not out of ego, but because this was not an impulsive 
upstart for me but rather the next progressive step in an entire process. 
I had accomplished the next steps in my imagination many times 
before proceeding in actuality. But I said that, if my Inner Critic had 
dared raise such a preposterously negative question, I would have sat 
down across from him and read him the riot act. 

The poor interviewer undoubtedly went home wondering if he 
was in the right line of work, stuck late at night interviewing a dod- 



Ingredients of the " Success-Type " Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 45 

dering fool who had imaginary characters, and argued with them. It 
might have helped if he had read the book, but as any author who gives 
interviews knows all too well, that’s frequently not in the cards. In any 
case, I’m not at all abashed to have such conversations with myself and 
you shouldn’t be either. I believe it is a useful imagination exercise to 
“personalize” these enemy-thoughts as a “critic” who sits across from 
you and puts you on the spot, whom you can vanquish with a presen- 
tation of your reasons why you will succeed. 


Prescription 

Stop carrying around a mental picture of yourself as a person less capable 
than others, by making unfair apples-to-oranges comparisons. Celebrate 
your victories small or large, recognize and build on your strengths, and 
continually remind yourself that you are not your mistakes. 

The word “esteem” literally means to appreciate the worth of. Why do men 
stand in awe of the stars, the moon, the immensity of the sea, the beauty of 
a flower or a sunset, and at the same time downgrade themselves? Did not 
the same Creator make us? Is not the human being the most marvelous cre- 
ation of all? This appreciation of your own worth is not egotism unless you 
assume that you made yourself and should take some of the credit. Do not 
downgrade the product merely because you haven’t used it correcdy. Don’t 
childishly blame the product for your own errors like the schoolboy who 
said, “This typewriter can’t spell.” 

But the biggest secret of self-esteem is this: Begin to appreciate other peo- 
ple more; show respect for any human being merely because he or she is a 
child of God and therefore a thing of value. Stop and think when you’re 
dealing with people. You’re dealing with unique, individual creations of the 
Creator of all. Practice treating other people as if they had value, and, sur- 
prisingly, your own self-esteem will go up. For real self-esteem is not 
derived from the great things you’ve done, the things you own, the mark 
you’ve made, but from an appreciation of yourself for what you are — a child 
of God. When you come to this realization, however, you must necessarily 
conclude that all other people are to be appreciated for the same reason. 


Self-Confidence 

Confidence is built on an experience of success. When we first begin 
any undertaking, we are likely to have little confidence because we 





146 Chapter Eight 

have not learned from experience that we can succeed. This is true of 
learning to ride a bicycle, speak in public, or perform surgery. It is lit- 
erally true that success breeds success. Even a small success can be 
used as a stepping stone to a greater one. Managers of boxers are very 
careful to match them so they can have a graduated series of success- 
ful experiences. We can use the same technique, starting gradually, 
and experiencing success at first on a small scale. 

Another important technique is to form the habit of remember- 
ing past successes and forgetting failures. This is the way both an elec- 
tronic computer and the human brain are supposed to operate. 
Practice improves skill and success in basketball, golf, horseshoe 
pitching, or salesmanship, but not because repetition has any value in 
itself. If it did, we would learn our errors instead of our hits. A person 
learning to pitch horseshoes, for example, will miss the stake many 
more times than he will hit it. If mere repetition were the answer to 
improved skill, his practice should make him more expert at missing 
since that is what he has practiced most. However, although his misses 
may outnumber hits ten to one, through practice his misses gradually 
diminish and his hits come more and more frequently. This is because 
the computer in his brain remembers and reinforces his successful 
attempts, and forgets the misses. 

This is the way that both an electronic computer and our owm 
success mechanisms learn to succeed. 

Yet what do most of us do? We destroy our self-confidence by 
remembering past failures and forgetting all about past successes. We 
not only remember failures, we impress them on our minds with emo- 
tion. We condemn' ourselves. We flay ourselves with shame and 
remorse (both are highly egotistical, self-centered emotions). And 
self-confidence disappears. , 

It doesn’t matter how many times you have failed in the past. 
What matters is the successful attempt, which should be remembered, 
reinforced, and dwelt on. The great inventor and industrialist Charles 
Kettering said that any man who wants to be a scientist must be will- 
ing to fail 99 times before he succeeds once and suffer no esteem dam- 
age because of it. This could be said of just about any field of endeavor. 
That does not mean you must actually operate at that ratio, by the 
way, but you must be willing to if need be and, as he suggested, suffer 
no self-image damage by doing so. 



Ingredients of the "Success-Type" Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 47 

When we observe others’ successes, we often never see or take 
note of the many zig-zags they took to arrive. When the famous 
Hollywood actress takes the Oscar in hand and delivers her acceptance 
speech, we forget all about the string of clinker movies she appeared 
in that were ridiculed by critics and quickly rejected by the public. 
When the best-selling author’s book is the talk of the airwaves and 
selling like hotcakes, we never contemplate the shoebox full of rejec- . 
tion slips stored in his home or the mountains of torn-up paper from 
unsatisfactory drafts, rewrites, drafts, and more rewrites that preceded 
this book now on the shelf. Almost every bright and shining success 
has in its shadow a long list of disappointments, frustrations, and 
humiliations. Why should you expect otherwise? The success person- 
ality takes such things in stride. 


Prescription 

Use errors and mistakes as a way to learning; then dismiss them from your 
mind. Deliberately remember and picture to yourself past successes. 
Everyone has succeeded sometime at something. Especially when begin- 
ning a new task, call up the feelings you experienced in some past success, 
however small it might have been. 


Self-Acceptance 

In the book made into the popular movie The Talented Mr. Ripley, the 
main character is a tortured and inferiority complex-laden young 
man, so unhappy with himself, so unwilling to accept himself, and so 
envious of others that he murders another man of greater financial 
means and attempts to take over his life, even to step into his rela- 
tionships with the dead man’s girlfriend and family. Fortunately, few 
people act on their lack of self-acceptance in such a violent and anti- 
social manner. More typical, such a person murders himself, slowly 
rather than suddenly, sometimes with alcohol or drug abuse, some- 
times with less obvious forms of gradual self-destruction. Many, to 
quote Thoreau, five out their lives in “quiet desperation.” 

No real success or genuine happiness is possible until a person 
gains some degree of self-acceptance. The most miserable and tor- 






148 Chapter Eight 


tured people in the world are those who are continually straining and 
striving to convince themselves and others that they are something 
other than what they basically are. And there is no relief and satisfac- 
tion like what comes when you finally give up the shams and pretenses 
and are willing to be yourself. Success, which comes from self-expres- 
sion, often eludes you when you strive and strain to “be somebody” 
and often comes, almost of its own accord, when you become willing 
to relax and be yourself. 

Changing your self-image does not mean changing your self, but 
changing your own mental picture, your own estimation, conception, 
and realization of that self. The amazing results that follow from 
developing an adequate and realistic self-image come about not as a 
result of self-transformation, but from self-realization and self-revela- 
tion. Your self, right now, is what it has always been, and all that it can 
ever be. You did not create it. You cannot change it. You can, however, 
realize it, and make the most of what already is by gaining a true men- 
tal picture of your actual self. There is no use straining to be some- 
body. You are what you are now. You are somebody, not because 
you’ve made a million dollars, or drive the biggest car in your block, 
or win at bridge, but because God created you in His own image. 

Most of us are better, wiser, stronger, more competent right now 
than we realize. Creating a better self-image does not create new abil- 
ities, talents, powers; it releases and utilizes them. 

We can change our personality, but not our basic self. Personality 
is a tool, an outlet, a focal point of the self that we use in dealing with 
the world. It is the sum total of our habits, attitudes, and learned skills, 
which we use as a method of expressing ourselves. 

You Are Not Your Mistakes. Self-acceptance means accepting and 
coming to terms with ourselves now, just as we are, with all our faults, 
weaknesses, shortcomings, errors, as well as our assets and strengths. 
Self-acceptance is easier, however, if we realize that these negatives 
belong to us; they are not us. Many people shy away from healthy self- 
acceptance because they insist on identifying themselves with their 
mistakes. You may have made a mistake, but this does not mean that 
you are a mistake. You may not be expressing yourself properly and 
fully, but this does not mean you yourself are “no good.” 

We must recognize our mistakes and shortcomings before we can 
correct them. 



Ingredients of the “Success-Type" Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 49 


The first step toward acquiring knowledge is the recognition of 
areas where you are ignorant. The first step toward becoming stronger 
is the recognition that you are weak. And all religions teach that the 
first step toward salvation is the self-confession that you are a sinner. 
In the journey toward the goal of ideal self-expression, we must use 
negative feedback data to correct course, as in any other goal-striving 
situation. 

This requires admitting to ourselves — and accepting the fact — 
that our personality, our “expressed self,” or what some psychologists 
call our “actual self’ is always imperfect and short of the mark. 

No one ever succeeds during a lifetime in fully expressing or 
bringing into actuality all the potentialities of the Real Self. In our 
Actual, Expressed Self, we never exhaust all the possibilities and pow- 
ers of the Real Self. We can always learn more, perform better, behave 
better. The Actual Self is necessarily imperfect. Throughout life it is 
always moving toward an ideal goal, but never arriving. The Actual Self 
is not a static but a dynamic thing. It is never completed and final, but 
always in a state of growth. 

It is important that we learn to accept this Actual Self, with all its 
imperfections, because it is the only vehicle we have. Neurotics reject 
the Actual Self and hate it because it is imperfect. In its place they try 
to create a fictitious ideal self that is already perfect, has already 
“arrived.” Trying to maintain the sham and fiction is not only a terrific 
mental strain, but it continually leads to disappointment and frustra- 
tion when people try to operate in a real world with a fictitious self. 


Prescription 

Accept yourself as you are and start from there. Learn to emotionally tol- 
erate imperfection in yourself. It is necessary to intellectually recognize our 
shortcomings, but disastrous to hate ourselves because of them. 
Differentiate between your self and your behavior. You are not ruined or 
worthless because you made a mistake or got off course, anymore than, a 
computer is worthless because it makes an error, or a violin because it 
sounds a sour note. Don’t hate yourself because you’re not perfect. You 
have a lots of company in imperfection. No one else is perfect and those 
who try to pretend they are become imprisoned in misery. 





1 50 Chapter Eight 


Self- Acceptance versus Self-Rejection 

Many people admit that they can’t stand rejection from others. 
Otherwise capable sales professionals, for example, will be stymied in 
their careers by the inability to emotionally handle the inherent truth 
about most selling situations; you get more no’s than yes’s, more rejec- 
tion than acceptance. Authors, playwrights, actors, athletes, coaches 
have all crumbled under the weight of criticism and rejection from the 
public or the media. But this kind of rejection is almost insignificant 
in impact compared to the awesome destructive power of Self- 
Rejection. 

People reject and demean themselves in many ways. Women fre- 
quently reject themselves because they do not conform to the current 
fashion or standard for physical proportions. In the 1920s many 
women felt ashamed of themselves because they had breasts. The boy- 
ish figure was in vogue and large breasts were taboo. Then the fash- 
ion trends reverse directions, and now many young women develop 
anxieties because they do not have 40-inch busts. In the 1920s women 
used to come to me and in effect say, “Make me somebody by reduc- 
ing the size of my breasts.” In the 1960s, the plea was, “Make me 
somebody by increasing the size of my breasts.” This seeking to be 
“somebody” is universal, but we make a mistake when we seek it in 
conformity or in the approval of other people. This mistake can have 
very serious consequences. The thin ideal, for example, has led women 
to anorexia, and even to death by anorexia, as in the celebrated case of 
the talented singer Karen Carpenter. 

This is just one example. People reject and demean themselves 
by comparing themselves to any number of artificial standards. They 
go deeply, irreversibly into debt attempting to hurriedly keep up with 
a colleague, relative, or neighbor. Many people say in effect to them- 
selves, “Because I am skinny, fat, short, too tall, etc., I am nothing.” 
Or, “Because I am not as thin or rich as she, I am a zero.” I think it was 
the Duchess of York who once said, “You can never be too thin or too 
rich.” But those who suffer anorexia, a physical disease manifested by 
the self-image, would differ! 

Instead of Self-Rejection, you must strive for Self-Acceptance. 
This means acknowledging that you are a unique, one-of-a-kind com- 
posite of strengths, weaknesses, knowledge and ignorance, experience 
and naivete, accomplishment and unrealized potential, and so is every 



Ingredients of the “ Success-Type " Personality and How to Acquire Them 151 


other individual on the planet. Carefully peel back the layers of the life 
of any person you might envy and view yourself as inferior to, and you 
will find a set of flaws and frustrations different from your own but 
guaranteed to rival your own. Donald Trump has the Midas touch in 
real estate but, to date, cannot seem to sustain a personal relationship. 
The current golden boy of your favorite sport may be basking in the 
spotlight at the moment, but may also find it impossible to adjust to a 
career that ends while he is still in his thirties, while yours may be just 
taking off. We all must strive for Self-Acceptance in our own way, even 
if only a minority achieve it. 

Accept yourself. By all means, engage in self-directed, legitimate 
self-improvement. But also be yourself. You cannot realize the poten- 
tialities and possibilities inherent in that unique and special something 
that is you if you keep turning your back on it, feeling ashamed of it, 
hating it, unfairly comparing it to false idols, and refusing to recognize 
it as your greatest asset and ally. 


The Secret of AQ— Adversity Quotient 

For many years, IQ was the focus of academia and thought to virtually 
predetermine how far a person might go in life. We now know con- 
clusively that it is not IQ that defines the area of the possible for a per- 
son, but self-image. (We also know that IQ can be improved long into 
adulthood.) 

There is what I call a part of the self-image or representation of 
the self-image that may be scientifically measured. Since 1967, a man- 
agement consultant named Dr. Paul Stoltz has been studying how 
people respond to adversity. Through his in-depth work with over 100 
companies, he has evaluated what he calls the Adversity Quotient of 
more than 100,000 people. Adversity Quotient is a measurement of 
how people perceive challenges and how well they deal with them. 

Dr. Stoltz says that having a high AQ is increasingly important as 
the world gets more difficult to operate in. He routinely surveys his 
clients regarding the number of adverse events they confront each 
day — whether a delayed or cancelled airline flight or a key client 
defecting to a competitor. He says that ten years back, the average 
number was 7; five years ago, 13, nearly doubled; in 1999, 23, 

Dr. Stoltz defines people with high AQs three ways: 



1 52 Chapter Eight 


1. They do not blame others for the adversities or setbacks they 
confront. 

2. They do not blame themselves either; they do not see setbacks 
that occur as reflecting poorly on themselves. 

3 . They believe the problems they face are limited in size and dura- 
tion, and can be dealt with. 

If you compare these characteristics with what we’ve just dis- 
cussed in terms of the Success Personality as a trigger for the 
Automatic Success Mechanism, you will see the compatibility of my 
ideas and Dr. Stoltz’ findings. 

Can you raise your AQ? Absolutely. Dr. Stoltz’ entire business at 
the corporate level is in providing training programs that help entire 
organizations of people raise their AQs. His approach includes unbur- 
dening people of low-AQ assumptions, such as helplessness, self- 
doubt, insurmountability of problems, and blame or guilt. This is 
much the same as modifying or strengthening the self-image. 
“Unburdening” or “liberating” is “strengthening.” You do not neces- 
sarily need to add to strengthen; you can strengthen by subtraction. 

This, not coincidentally, is in total harmony with everything I’ve 
observed regarding people diagnosed with very serious diseases. Some 
people easily accept that their problem is of such overwhelming mag- 
nitude they are helpless, they feel shame and guilt, and they blame 
themselves for being weak, and they blame others, God or destiny for 
their condition. Other people, confronted with the very same debili- 
tating disease, conform to the three high-AQ characteristics and are 
very aggressive in taking on their condition in every way, from active 
research, self-education and involvement in their medical care, to 
finding ways to continue meaningful and fulfilling activity. I would 
observe, for example, that Elizabeth Taylor and Christopher Reeve are 
high AQs. Elizabeth Taylor has had several brushes with death, a 
number of medical operations including hip replacement surgeries, 
undergone addiction rehabilitation at the Betty Ford Clinic twice 
before making it stick. Yet she has fought resiliently to keep her 
beauty, grace, and sense of humor. She has remained active in the 
entertainment industry (making a TV movie as recently as 2000), in 
business (with a successful perfume line), and in charitable work 
(founding the first major fundraising effort for AIDS research). 



Ingredients of the “Success-Type" Personality and How to Acquire Them 1 53 


Christopher Reeve, paralyzed by spinal cord injury in a horse-riding 
accident, has continued with a successful and meaningful life as loving 
husband and father, author, professional speaker, and director of 
movies, while just getting out of bed and dressed requires massive 
effort, hours of time, and assistance from caregivers. 


The Fishing Trip from Hell 

I was having lunch with several friends who had just returned from a 
fishing trip together. When I asked about the trip, they all chimed in 
describing a trip marred by one catastrophe after another — bad 
weather, their cooler full of provisions floating off in a river, one man’s 
bout of stomach sickness, and on and on. “And how would you rate the 
trip?” I asked. 

“Best trip yet,” one man said. “We had a ball.” 

On this trip, they acted in a high-AQ mode and made a success 
of a series of adverse events. If they could approach everyday life as 
they did their fishing trip, they’d all be happier and more successful 
365 days a year rather than 5. So would we all. Of course, everyday 
matters may be more important than a comedy of errors weekend in 
the woods. Certainly, tragedies of life such as serious injury or illness, 
loss of love, etc. are far more important. Still, much of success has to 
do with expectation and response. If we are burdened with unreason- 
able expectations of ourselves from unfair comparison to others or 
insistence on perfection, or with unreasonable expectations of life 
itself to somehow be smooth sailing or wholly unsatisfactory, “black 
and white” responses to everything, these self-made burdens will 
crush us under their own weight. 


A Fable of Unburdening 

I will end this chapter with a fable or parable I have heard told 
several different ways. Think about how it relates to the liberation of 
your success personality. 

The story is told of an obviously weary traveler, walking down a 
dusty road, with a large boulder hoisted on one shoulder, a knapsack 
full of bricks on his back, a huge pumpkin precariously balanced on his 
head, and a nest of sturdy weeds and vines wound around his legs so 



1 54 Chapter Eight 


'that he could only take short, hobbling steps. As you might imagine, 
this human packhorse was hobbling along, uncomfortably stooped 
over, his progress slow and tedious, his physical struggle great. 

A person sitting by the roadside called his hello and asked, “Say, 
traveler, why do you burden yourself with that big, heavy rock on your 
shoulder?” 

Incredibly the traveler said, “Hmm. You know, I never noticed 
just how heavy it was before and, until you mentioned it, I hadn’t given 
much thought to my reasons for taking it with me.” After a few 
moments’ pondering, the traveler set the boulder down, left it by the 
side of the road, and walked on, a bit straighter, a bit quicker. 

A little further along, he encountered another bystander who 
queried him about the knapsack full of bricks. “Hmm. I’m glad you 
made mention of it,” said the traveler, “I really hadn’t paid any atten- 
tion to what was in the knapsack.” He took out all the bricks, left them 
at the roadside, and walked on. 

A little further along, a curious child playing by the road called 
out to him. “Hey mister, why do you have all those weeds wrapped 
around your legs?” 

The traveler took out his pocket knife and sliced away the weeds. 

One by one, the bystanders made the traveler aware of his need- 
less burdens. So, one by one, he accepted the new awareness, rejected 
the old burdens and abandoned them by the side of the road. Finally, 
he was a truly free man, and walked straight and tall like such a man. 

Were' his problems the boulder, the bricks, the weeds? No, not at 
all. The one problem was his lack of awareness of them. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Make a short list of the bricks and rocks you are carrying around. Get actual 
bricks and with a marking pen, write one emotional burden on each brick. 
Put all the bricks in a knapsack or duffel bag and put it in the back seat of 
your automobile. When you leave your home each morning, take the bag 
out and heft it a few times, and say to yourself, “Today I’m leaving my 
bricks in the car. I will go about my day without carrying these heavy bricks 
around with me.” When you arrive home in the evening, get your briefcase 
or belongings out of your car, but leave the bag of bricks there, and say to 
yourself, “I will relax and enjoy my evening by leaving my bricks behind.” 





CHAPTER NINE 


How to Avoid Accidentally 
Activating Your Automatic 
Failure Mechanism 


A person who doubts himself is like a man who would enlist in the 
ranks of his enemies and hear arms against himself 

— Alexander Dumas 


t M umans have boiling points. In my day, many 
-A. -M- businesses and factories were heated with 
steam boilers, which were actually one step away from being bombs. 
Properly regulated, they provided necessary heat economically. But 
they also had destructive potential. Such boilers had pressure gauges 
to show when the pressure was reaching the danger point. By recog- 
nizing the potential danger, corrective action could be taken and 
safety assured. Today, similarly, we have nuclear power plants, care- 
fully monitored and regulated by computers and humans, to prevent 
the kind of “boiling point” accident that occurred in Chernobyl. 

I am told that one of the worst nuclear power plant disasters that 
almost happened but was averted in the nick of time — the Three Mile 
Island event — was begun by a worker spilling a cup of coffee. 

Always, power incorporates danger. The servo-mechanism you 
possess is powerful far beyond your past experience would lead you to 
believe. The more you learn abqut it and experiment with jt, the more 
amazed you’ll be at its capabilities. However, this power, used con- 
structively and productively as your Automatic Success Mechanism 
(ASM), has a destructive potential, expressed as the Automatic Failure 
Mechanism (AFM). We must regulate this power in ourselves, always 


155 




1 56 Chapter Nine 


vigilant and alert for the red marker on its gauge slipping over into 
AFM territory. 

Negative emotions are alarms. Frustration, rage, overwhelming 
anxiety, unshakable depression, jealousy and resentment, sloth and the 
demanding of something for nothing, intolerance and disrespect, and, 
of course, self-rejection are all signs that the servo-mechanism’s gauge 
is in the red zone. 

The human body has its own red light signals and danger signs, 
which doctors refer to as symptoms or syndromes. Patients are prone 
to regard symptoms as malevolent; a fever, a pain, or the like is “bad.” 
Actually, these negative signals function for patients and for their ben- 
efit, if they recognize them for what they are and take corrective 
action. Symptoms or syndromes are the pressure gauges and red lights 
that help maintain the body in health. The pain of appendicitis may 
seem bad to the patient, but actually it operates for the patient’s survival. 
If he felt no pain, he would take no action to have the appendix 
removed. 

The AFM, accidentally awakened and activated, also has its 
symptoms. We need to be able to recognize these symptoms in our- 
selves so that we can do something about them. When we learn to rec- 
ognize certain personality traits as signposts to failure, these 
symptoms then act automatically as negative feedback and guide us 
down the road to creative accomplishment. However, we not only 
need to become aware of them. Everyone “feels” them. We need to 
recognize them as undesirables, as things we do not want, and most 
important of all we must convince ourselves deeply and sincerely that 
these things do not bring happiness. 

No one is immune to these negative feelings and attitudes. Even 
the most successful personalities experience them at times. The 
important thing is to recognize them for what they are, and take pos- 
itive action to correct course. 


The Picture of Failure 

Again, I have found that patients can remember these negative feed- 
back signals, or what I call the Failure Mechanism, when they associ- 
ate them with the letters that make up the word “failure.” They are: 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 57 


Frustration, hopelessness, futility 
Aggressiveness (misdirected) 
Insecurity 

Loneliness (lack of “oneness’) 

Uncertainty 

Resentment 

Emptiness 


No one sits down and deliberately, with malice aforethought, 
decides to develop these negative traits just to be perverse. The traits 
do not just happen. Nor are they an indication of the imperfection of 
human nature. Each of these negatives was originally adopted as a way 
to solve a difficulty or a problem. We adopt them because we mistak- 
enly see them as a way out of a difficulty. They have meaning and pur- 
pose , although based on a mistaken premise. They constitute a way of 
life for us. Remember, one of the strongest urges in human nature is 
to react appropriately. We can cure these failure symptoms not by 
willpower, but by understanding, by being able to see that they do not 
work and that they are inappropriate. 

The truth can set us free from them. And when we can see the 
truth, then the same instinctive forces that caused us to adopt them in 
the first place will work in our behalf in eradicating them. 

For example, consider the martyr complex or victim complex. 
You undoubtedly know someone who is constantly presenting himself 
or herself as a victim of an unhappy childhood, dysfunctional family, 
inadequate education, unjust employers, scheming co-workers, cheat- 
ing lovers, all manner of illnesses, and financial misfortunes. This per- 
son insists that all of life is a conspiracy against her. Further, this 
person whines and sighs and moans as a martyr all too often — “No, 
no, you go ahead and go to the play tonight and have a good time. 
Don’t worry about me not feeling up to it. Don’t give me a second 
thought. I’m used to being left behind.” Looking at this from the out- 
side, like looking at a fish in a fish bowl, we are either incredulous or 
angry at this person’s behavior, so unreasonably determined to make 
herself and everybody around her miserable. But make no mistake, 
this person has not developed these habits by deliberate strategy to 






1 58 Chapter Nine 


cause herself and others maximum misery. Not at all! Instead, this is 
the way she has latched onto, to solve certain frustrations, for exam- 
ple, to get the attention and compassion she craves or to get the recog- 
nition she feels unable to merit otherwise. 

It is quite difficult to re-engineer all this working from the out- 
side in, assisting some other person in your life. But you can take 
charge of your own self-image and re-engineer your self-image, thus 
altering your own behavior. 

So let’s consider the warning signs of the Automatic Failure 
Mechanism exerting control. 

Frustration 

Frustration is an emotional feeling that develops whenever some 
important goal cannot be realized or when some strong desire is 
thwarted. All of us must necessarily suffer some frustration by the very 
fact of being human and therefore imperfect, incomplete, unfinished. 
As we grow older we should learn that all desires cannot be satisfied 
immediately. We also learn that our “doing” can never be as good as 
our intentions. We also learn to accept the fact that perfection is nei- 
ther necessary nor required, and that approximations are good enough 
for all practical purposes. We learn to tolerate a certain amount of 
frustration without becoming upset about it. 

It is only when a frustrating experience brings excessive emo- 
tional feelings of deep dissatisfaction and futility that it becomes a 
symptom of failure. 

Chronic frustration usually means that the goals we have set for 
ourselves are unrealistic, or that the image we have of ourselves is 
inadequate, or both. 

Practical Goals versus Perfectionistic Goals. To his friends, Jim S. 
was a successful man. He had risen from stock clerk to vice-president 
of his company. His golf score was in the low eighties. He had a beau- 
tiful wife and two children who loved him. Nevertheless, he felt 
chronically frustrated because none of these measured up to his unre- 
alistic goals. He himself was not perfect in every particular, but he 
should be. He should be chairman of the board by now. He should be 
shooting in the low seventies. He should be such a perfect husband 
and father that his wife would never find cause to disagree with him 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 59 


and his children never misbehave. Hitting the bull’s-eye was not good 
enough. He had to hit the infinitesimal speck in the center of the 
bull’s-eye. “You should use the same technique in all your affairs that 
pro golfer Jackie Burke recommends in putting,” I told him. “That is 
not to feel that you have to pinpoint the ball right to the cup itself on 
a long putt, but to aim at an area the size of a washtub. This takes off 
the strain, relaxes you, enables you to perform better. If it’s good 
enough for the professionals, it should be good enough for you.” 

His Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Made Failure Certain. Harry N. was 
somewhat different. He had won none of the external symbols of suc- 
cess. Yet he had had many opportunities, all of which he muffed. 
Three times he had been on the verge of landing the job he wanted 
and each time “something happened”; something was always defeating 
him just when success seemed within his grasp. Twice he had been dis- 
appointed in love affairs. 

His self-image was that of an unworthy, incompetent, inferior 
person who ha’d no right to succeed or to enjoy the better things in 
life, and unwittingly he tried to be true to that role. He felt he was not 
the sort of person to be successful and always managed to do some- 
thing to make this self-fulfilling prophecy come true. 

Frustration as a Way of Solving Problems Does Not Work. 

Feelings of frustration, discontent, dissatisfaction are ways of solving 
problems that we all learned as infants. A hungry infant expresses dis- 
content by crying. A warm, tender hand then appears magically out of 
nowhere and brings milk. If he is uncomfortable, he again expresses 
his dissatisfaction with the status quo, and the same warm hands 
appear magically again and solve his problem by making him com- 
fortable. Many children continue to get their way and have their prob- 
lems solved by overindulgent parents, merely by expressing their 
feelings of frustration. All they have to do is feel frustrated and dissat- 
isfied and the problem is solved. This way of life “works” for the infant 
and for some small children. It does not work in adult life. Yet many 
of us continue to try it, by feeling discontented and expressing our 
grievances against life, apparently in the hope that life itself will take 
pity — rush in and solve our problem for us — if only we feel badly 
enough. 

Jim S. was unconsciously using this childish technique in the hope 
that some magic would bring him the perfection he craved. Harry N. 



1 60 Chapter Nine 


had “practiced” feeling frustrated and defeated so much that feelings of 
defeat became habitual with him. He projected them into the future 
and expected to fail. His habitual defeatist feelings helped create a pic- 
ture of himself as a defeated person. Thoughts and feelings go together. 
Feelings are the soil that thoughts and ideas grow in. This is the rea- 
son that you have been advised throughout this book to imagine how 
you would feel if you succeeded — and then feel that way now. 

Infant behavior is inappropriate for adult life, and you must rise 
above it by setting goals and working toward them. When you zig or 
zag off course in any way, you dare not lie there in the weeds crying 
like a baby demanding and waiting for some warm hands to come 
along, gently brush you off, and put you back on your path, headed in 
the right direction. You must exhibit strength of self-image, and deter- 
mine to pick yourself up, replot your course, and restart your travel 
toward your chosen goals. You must exhibit Self-Acceptance, so that 
you can acknowledge having made mistakes — having zigged when you 
should have zagged — rather than Self-Rejection, which requires the 
masquerade of placing blame. You must not permit a fog bank passing 
through to obliterate the beacon light of your goals. 

Aggressiveness 

Excessive and misdirected aggressiveness follows frustration as night 
follows day. 

One of the most horrifying diseases of the day is Alzheimer’s, in 
which a person may retain sound physical health, but lose memory and 
identity, in ever increasing episodic debilitation. It is common for vic- 
tims of this disease to occasionally, without warning, turn violent toward 
their caregivers or loved ones. I am convinced such aggressiveness is the 
direct product of the unimaginable frustration these people must feel at 
having their very identity disappear from their memory. 

When people unafflicted with Alzheimer’s turn violent or vicious 
toward others, it is often the direct product of having their true self 
beaten on, tortured, and imprisoned in the form of an unhealthy self- 
image. 

A long-time friend of my wife Anne’s, a successful career woman, 
married a somewhat younger, much less accomplished man. She 
seemed quite content with being the breadwinner, earning virtually all 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 161 

of the household income, and supporting him generously. At first so 
did he. But others’ tacit disapproval, his friends’ making jokes at his 
expense, her family’s criticism all built up as a weight of frustration. 
He attempted several business ventures he was ill-equipped for, 
invested without due diligence, and began a pattern leading only to 
greater frustration. At the same pace, she was being put upon by 
friends and family, so that she became dissatisfied, then critical. When 
all of his frustration hit a boiling point in this overheated environ- 
ment, an argument turned violent and he hit her a number of times, 
ultimately leading to a 911 call and police cars arriving, lights on, 
sirens blazing. The incident did not just go away, as these sort of 
things rarely do; it was the beginning of the' end of the marriage. 

There is absolutely no acceptable excuse for a man striking a 
woman, or vice versa. But it is easily explained as the predictable result 
as unchecked frustration begets aggression. 

Still,’ with such unpleasant examples noted, aggressiveness itself 
is not an abnormal behavior pattern, as some psychiatrists once 
believed. Aggressiveness and emotional steam are very necessary in 
reaching a goal. We must go out after what we want in an aggressive 
rather than in a defensive or tentative manner. We must grapple with 
problems aggressively. The mere fact of having an important goal is 
enough to create emotional steam in our boiler and bring aggressive 
tendencies into play. However, trouble ensues when we are blocked or 
frustrated in achieving our goal. The emotional steam is then dammed 
up, seeking an outlet. Misdirected or unused, it becomes a destructive 
force. The worker who wants to punch his boss in the nose but does- 
n’t dare goes home and snaps at his wife and kids or kicks the cat. Or 
he may turn his aggressiveness on himself in much the same way that 
a certain scorpion in South America will sting itself and die of its own 
poison, when angered. 

Don’t Lash Out Blindly — Concentrate Your Fire. The Automatic 
Failure Mechanism does not direct aggressiveness toward the accom- 
plishment of a worthwhile goal. Instead it is used in such self-destructive 
channels as ulcers, high-blood pressure, worry, excessive drinking, or 
compulsive overwork; or it may be turned on other persons in the form 
of irritability, rudeness, gossip, nagging, fault-finding, or even violence. 

The answer to aggression is not to eradicate it but to understand 
it, and to provide proper and appropriate channels for its expression. 



162 Chapter Nine 


When we recognize aggressiveness rearing its head, we want to turn it 
around on the frustration that birthed it, to use all this energy in tak- 
ing productive action to resolve the frustration itself. 

Knowledge Gives You Power. Merely understanding the mecha- 
nism involved helps a person handle the frustration-aggression cycle. 
Misdirected aggression is an attempt to hit one target (the original 
goal) by lashing out at any target. It doesn’t work. Recall the children’s 
cartoon of Elmer Fudd trying to hunt the wily rabbit. After shooting 
at him and missing several times, Fudd blasts wildly away in a dozen 
different directions. I suspect human duck and geese hunters some- 
times succumb to the same temptation! 

You don’t solve one problem by creating another. If you feel like 
snapping at someone, stop and ask yourself, “Is this merely my own 
frustration at work? What has frustrated me?” “Am I just shooting in 
a dbzen different directions?” When you see that your response is 
inappropriate, you have gone a long way toward controlling it. It also 
takes much of the sting away when someone is rude to you, if you real- 
ize that it is probably not a willful act, but an automatic mechanism at 
work. The other fellow is letting off steam that he could not use in 
achieving some goal. 

Many automobile accidents are caused by the frustration-aggres- 
sion mechanism. Today, it’s been given the name road rage. There’s 
also airline passenger rage. These names simply label the outcome of 
unchecked frustration building to aggression. The next time someone 
is rude to you in traffic, try this: Instead of becoming aggressive and 
thus a menace yourself, say to yourself, “The poor fellow has nothing 
against me personally. Maybe his wife burned the toast this morning, 
he can’t pay the rent, or his boss chewed him out.” 

Safety Valves for Emotional Steam. When you are blocked in 
achieving an important goal, you are somewhat like a steam locomo- 
tive with a full head of steam with nowhere to go. . You need a safety 
valve for your excess of emotional steam. All types of physical exercise 
are excellent for draining off aggression. Long brisk walks, push-ups, 
dumbbell exercises are good. Especially good are those games where 
you hit or smash something — golf, tennis, bowling, punching the bag. 
Another good device is to vent your spleen in writing. Write a letter 
to the person who has frustrated or angered you. Pull out all the stops. 
Leave nothing to the imagination. Then bum the letter. 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 63 


The best channel of all for aggression is to use it up as it was 
intended to be used — in working toward some goal. Work remains 
one of the best therapies and one of the best tranquilizers for a trou- 
bled spirit. 

Insecurity 

The feeling of insecurity is based on a concept or belief of inner inad- 
equacy. If you feel that you do not measure up to what is required, you 
feel insecure. A great deal of insecurity is due not to the fact that our 
inner resources are actually inadequate, but to the fact that we use a 
false measuring stick. We compare our actual abilities to an imagined 
ideal, perfect, or absolute self. Thinking of yourself in terms of 
absolutes induces insecurity. 

The insecure person feels that he should be good — period. He 
should be successful — period. He should be happy, competent, 
poised — period. These are all worthy goals. But they should be 
thought of, at least in their absolute sense, as goals to be achieved, as 
something to reach for, rather than as “shoulds.” 

A friend of mine who heads up a large management consulting 
firm talked with me once about a popular business book entitled The 
Peter Principle, espousing the theory that business bureaucracies always 
err in eventually promoting people to their level of incompetence, 
with disastrous results. I have seen this occur many times myself: The 
good, effective doctor happy in his work, once promoted by the hos- 
pital to head of a department, turns out to be a miserable manager. 
The hospital loses a great doctor and gains an incompetent adminis- 
trator. My friend differed with this as an absolute. “There is no doubt 
the so-called Peter Principle explains or at least provides a convenient, 
shorthand label for such situations,” he said, “but then it fails to 
explain the exact same situation with a much different outcome. What 
about the person who gets promoted far beyond his level of experi- 
ence, knowledge, preparation or confidence, and is even expected to 
fail by those around him, who rises to the occasion and succeeds?” As 
we discussed this further, I realized this was much like the earliest 
observations and questions that led me to Psycho-Cybernetics. Two 
unhappy people, with nearly identical physical flaws magnified in 
importance by their own imaginations, get virtually the same cosmetic 



1 64 Chapter Nine 


surgery; one behaves as you and I would anticipate but the other 
retains all the same negative feelings about herself as if the scar still 
existed. Why? 

In both these scenarios, the surgeries and the promotions, the 
difference in outcomes is hidden in the individuals’ self-images. It can- 
not be seen on their faces or on their resumes. 

The person who is already insecure, who is harboring a weak 
self-image, and who is by willpower forcing himself to the very edges 
of performance it will permit, if promoted responds to the promotion 
as “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” not as golden opportunity. 
The Magic Power of Recalibration. There are many approaches to 
ridding yourself of insecurities so that you may rise to whatever occa- 
sion presents itself. One is to think rationally about the situation, the 
other people involved, and about yourself. Another is self-image reas- 
surance and strengthening, including role-playing what now needs to 
be done competently in the Theater of Your Mind and sending your 
Automatic Success Mechanism on new search missions to provide 
ideas and answers required. Another is the immediate resetting of your 
sights on appropriate new targets. 

Here’s why recalibration is so important. 

A famous New York sportswriter once gave me this example: 

Consider two very successful college football coaches who get head 
coaching jobs in the NFL, in essence promoted to a whole new level of 
competition. We sports writers immediately begin questioning their abil- 
ity to succeed at this level, in effect pasting that Peter Principle thing on 
their foreheads. Ultimately, one of these coaches goes back to college 
coaching, a whipped puppy, tail between his legs, but the other takes his 
team to the Super Bowl. 

Certainly, there are variables, in talent, toughness of divisional oppo- 
nents, schedule and so on. But the biggest variable is the actual reaction 
of the two coaches to their new posts. Both have hoped for just such a 
move up to the NFL. But one views it as having finally arrived. And he 
sets about behaving as a newly crowned king, hiding his own insecurities 
and self-doubt with autocratic, even bombastic behavior. He quickly 
develops adversarial relationships with us in the media, players, other 
coaches. His players read the papers, sense he’s skating on thin ice, and 
do not respond. Soon he is horribly frustrated. His insecurities turn to 
fear of failure, his frustration turns to aggression, and he is unable to use 
whatever skills he did bring with him. The other newly promoted coach 
takes a very different approach. To him, his step up to this coaching job 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 65 


is yet one more move forward on a lifeline of intended accomplishment. 

He is immediately focused on a whole new set of goals, from organizing 
a world class staff to improving team morale, to uncovering hidden tal- 
ent within the team, to getting to the Super Bowl in two seasons. All of 
his energy is assumptively and productively focused. His goals are like 
lighthouses that keep him from running aground. People respond to him 
differently, he gets different results. 

My sportswriter friend had analyzed these situations Psycho- 
Cybernetically! Since human beings are goal-striving mechanisms, the 
self realizes itself fully only when individuals are moving forward 
towards something. Remember our comparison with the bicycle in a 
previous chapter? People maintain their balance, poise, and sense of 
security only as they move forward or seek. When you think of your- 
self as having attained the goal, you become static, and you lose the 
security and equilibrium you had when you were moving towards 
something. If you are convinced that you are good in the absolute 
sense, you not only have no incentive to do better, but you feel inse- 
cure because you must defend the sham and pretense. “The man who 
thinks that he has ‘arrived’ has about used up his usefulness to us,” the 
president of a large business said to me recently. When someone 
called Jesus good he admonished him, “Why callest thou me good? 
There is but one good and that is the Father.” St. Paul is generally 
regarded as a good man, yet his own attitude was, “I count myself not 
to have achieved ... but I press on toward the goal.” 

Keep Your Feet on Solid Ground. Trying to stand on the top of a 
pinnacle is insecure. Mentally, get down off your high horse and you 
will feel more secure. 

This has very practical applications. It explains the underdog 
psychology in sports. When a championship team begins to think of 
itself as the champions, they no longer have something to fight for, but 
a status to defend. The champions are defending something, trying to 
prove something. The underdogs are fighting to do something and 
often bring about an upset. 

I used to know a boxer who fought well until he won the cham- 
pionship. In his next fight he lost the championship and looked bad 
doing so. After losing the title, he fought well again and regained the 
championship. A wise manager said to him, “You can fight as well as a 
champion as when you’re the contender if you’ll remember one thing. 



1 66 Chapter Nine 


When you step into that ring you aren't defending the championship — 
you’re fighting for it. You haven’t got it — you’ve laid it on the line 
when you crawl through the ropes.” 

The mental attitude that engenders insecurity is a way. It is a way 
of substituting sham and pretense for reality. It is a way of proving to 
yourself and others your superiority. But it is self-defeating. If you are 
perfect and superior now, then there is no need to fight, grapple, and 
try. In fact, if you are caught trying real hard, it may be considered evi- 
dence that you are not superior. So you don’t try. You lose your fight — 
your will to win. 

In business, secure leaders attempt surrounding themselves with 
a team of individuals wiser, more capable, and often older and more 
experienced than they are. Insecure leaders surround themselves with 
yes-men and syncophants. Why? Because the secure leader is engaged 
in striving to move forward and more concerned with doing what is 
required than with anything else. The insecure leader is more con- 
cerned with appearances and fears showing any signs of weakness or 
incompetence. 

If you catch yourself behaving as if your Automatic Failure 
Mechanism has immersed you in a swamp of insecurities and pulled 
you out covered in its slime and stench, you must acknowledge that 
“something smells and it is my own behavior!” Then do the things 
necessary to shower and emerge cleansed. A good soap for your 
shower is recalibration, goal-setting. 

Loneliness 

All of us are lonely at times. Again, it is a natural penalty we pay for 
being human and individual. But it is the extreme and chronic feeling 
of loneliness — of being cut off and alienated from other people — that 
is the work of the Automatic Failure Mechanism. 

This type of loneliness is caused by an alienation from life. It is a 
loneliness from your real self. Those who are alienated from their real 
self have cut themselves off from the basic and fundamental contact 
with life. Lonely persons often set up a vicious cycle. Because of the 
feeling of alienation from self, human contacts are not very satisfying,' 
and they become social recluses. In doing so, they cut themselves off 
from one of the pathways to finding themselves, which is to lose them- 
selves in social activities with other people. Doing things and enjoying 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 67 


things with other people helps us to forget ourselves. In stimulating 
conversation, in dancing, in playing together, or in working together 
for a common goal, we become interested in something other than 
maintaining our own shams and pretenses. As we get to know the 
other fellow, we feel less need for pretense. We unthaw and become 
more natural. The more we do this, the more we feel we can afford to 
dispense with the sham and pretense and feel more comfortable just 
being ourselves. 

Loneliness Is a Way That Doesn’t Work. Loneliness is a way of 
self-protection. Lines of communication with other people — and 
especially any emotional ties — are cut down. It is a way to protect our 
idealized self against exposure, hurt, humiliation. The lonely person- 
ality is afraid of other people. Lonely persons often complain that they 
have no friends, and there are no people to mix with. In most cases, 
they unwittingly arrange things in this manner because of their passive 
attitude, that it is up to other people to come to them, to make the first 
move, to see that they are entertained. It never occurs to them that 
they should contribute something to any social situation. 

Regardless of your feelings, force yourself to mix and mingle 
with other people. After the first cold plunge, you will find yourself 
warming up and enjoying it if you persist. Develop a social skill that 
will add to the happiness of other people: dancing, bridge, playing the 
piano, tennis, conversation. It is an old psychological axiom that con- 
stant exposure to the object of fear immunizes against the fear. As 
lonely persons continue to force themselves into social relations with 
other human beings — not in a passive way, but as active contributors — 
they gradually find that most people are friendly and that they are 
accepted. Their shyness and timidity begin to disappear. They feel 
more comfortable in the presence of other people and with them- 
selves. The experience of their acceptance enables them to accept 
themselves. 

The top executive who allows herself to become isolated in her 
ivory tower will soon inevitably find herself with the personal belong- 
ings from her office in the trunk of her car, her final check in hand, 
outside looking in. The high and mighty topple through isolation. 
The man who insulates himself from the riskiness of relationships in 
work alone will one day awaken to the shocking fact that he has no 
reason to work! 



1 68 Chapter Nine 


Isolation and loneliness are forces that destroy kings and presi- 
dents as well as “mere mortals.” It was said of President Nixon’s White 
House, as the Watergate scandal unfolded, that a “bunker mentality” 
consumed him. He sought security through ever increasing isolation. 
Compare his behavior to, say, that of Lee Iacocca at the helm of 
Chrysler, his ship full of holes, in eminent danger of financial capsiz- 
ing. Instead of retreating into isolation, living with only his mounting 
crisis in a dark room, alone, he marched into the public eye as never 
before, cajoling, negotiating, selling and organizing Wall Street, 
Washington, and the buying public, and leading a dramatic corporate 
turnaround. 

When you are tempted by aloneness, you must substitute alive- 
ness. Think of the wonderful painting given to me as a gift by Salvador 
Dali, in which he depicted Psycho-Cybernetics as a steadfast ship 
choosing to Sail toward the light rather than remain in a dark but 
arguably safer harbor. While you cannot stub your toe standing still in 
the dark, you cannot escape a burning building, get the refreshing 
drink in the refrigerator, or otherwise achieve anything by standing 
safe and still in the dark either. We must rise above loneliness by 
engagement, move out of isolation toward involvement, even risk crit- 
icism and confrontation to seek opportunity and improvement. 

Uncertainty 

Philosopher Elbert Hubbard said, “The greatest mistake a man can 
make js to be afraid of making one.” 

Uncertainty is a way of avoiding mistakes and responsibility. It is 
based on the fallacious premise that if no decision is made, nothing 
can go wrong. Being wrong holds untold horrors to the person who 
tries to conceive of himself as perfect. He is never wrong and always 
perfect in all things. If he were ever wrong, his picture of a perfect, all- 
powerful self would crumble. Therefore, decision making becomes a 
life-or-death matter. 

One way is to avoid as many decisions as possible, and prolong 
them as much as possible. Another way is to have a handy scapegoat to 
blame. This type of person makes decisions, but she makes them hastily, 
prematurely, and is well-known for going off half-cocked. Making deci- 
sions offers her no problem at all. She is perfect. It is impossible for her 
to be wrong in any case. Therefore, why consider facts or conse- 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 69 


quences? She is able to maintain this fiction when her decisions back- 
fire, simply by convincing herself it was someone else’s fault. 

It is easy to see why both types fail. One is continually in hot 
water from impulsive and ill-considered actions; the other is stymied 
because he will not act at all. In other words, the “uncertainty way” of 
being right doesn’t work. 

Nobody Is Right All the Time. Realize that it is not required that a 
person be 100% right at all times. It is in the nature of things that we 
progress by acting, making mistakes, and correcting course. A guided 
torpedo arrives at its target literally by making a series of mistakes and 
continually correcting its course. You cannot correct your course if 
you are standing still. You cannot change or correct “nothing.” You 
must consider the known facts in a situation, imagine possible conse- 
quences of various courses of action, choose one that seems to offer 
the best solution, and bet on it. You can correct your course as you go. 

Consider some of today’s most successful actors. Kevin Costner. 
Do you recall the film Waterworks Tom Hanks. A film called Joe and 
the Vokano. We could go down the list. Every Oscar-winner, every 
Hollywood powerhouse has at least one such epic mistake on their 
resume. 

More significantly, consider all the endeavors in which even the 
most successful participants are “wrong” more than they are “right.” 

Coaching a football game and calling plays or playing quarter- 
back and executing them: In most games, the victor has stacked 
up many more unsuccessful plays than successful ones. 

Managing an investment portfolio: Typically, more stocks in “the 
basket” may go down than go up, but those that do go up pro- 
duce sufficient gains for overall profit. 

Drilling for oil. 

Developing advertisements. 

In most environments, the victors are certainly not right 100% of the 
time! Often not even 50% of the time. 

One of the most successful entrepreneurs I ever met, who 
brought 18 very successful new products to market in the space of a 



1 70 Chapter Nine 


few years, and took his company from near-zero to over $200-million 
dollars in worth by age 38, remarked that few take note of the 100 
other products he brought to market in that same time frame, all of 
which failed miserably. He describes his secret to success this way: I 
fail forward faster. 

In the world of mail order, two of the legends are Ted Nicholas 
and Joseph Sugarman. Ted Nicholas is perhaps best known for a full- 
page advertisement that made his self-published book, How To Form 
Your Own Corporation Without A Lawyer, a million-copy bestseller. For 
a number of years, you could not open a business or financial publica- 
tion, even an airline magazine without seeing that ad as well as many 
other ads, for Ted’s other books and products. However Ted freely 
admits that for every profitable ad he created, he created eight or more 
that, when tested, flopped. 

Joseph Sugarman was the first mail-order entrepreneur to accept 
credit card orders by telephone, using toll-free 800 numbers. He made 
his first fortune selling electronic gadgets with full-page advertise- 
ments, and was the first to sell a pocket calculator by mail order. More 
recently, he made a giant success out of Blu-Blockers sunglasses. 
When Mr. Sugarman lectures, he delights in telling one story after 
another of his biggest mistakes, the products he invested in that 
proved unsalable, the advertisements he developed and placed with 
the highest of hopes that did not produce. In their businesses, these 
men live uncertainty — and dare not require being right the majority of 
the time. 

Only “Little Men” Are “Never Wrong.” Another help in overcom- 
ing uncertainty is to realize the role that self-esteem and the protec- 
tion of self-esteem play in indecisiveness. Many people are indecisive 
because they fear loss of self-esteem if they are proved wrong. Use 
self-esteem for yourself, instead of against yourself, by convincing 
yourself of this truth: Big men and big personalities make mistakes and 
admit them. It is the little man who is afraid to admit he has been 
wrong. (This, of course, applies equally to women.) 

Success through the Process of Elimination. I’ve enjoyed reading 
Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of the great detective Sherlock Holmes’ 
exploits. Holmes’ trusty helpmate Dr. Watson, a man of many fine 
qualities but woefully little imagination, is frequently befuddled and 
amazed as Holmes “disappears into his own imagination” and emerges 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 7 1 


with the solution to the most mystifying of crimes. In his imagination, 
Holmes engages in the pedantic, dogged process of elimination, ulti- 
mately arriving at the one, best conclusion he cannot eliminate. Then 
that becomes his target, engaging all of the powers of his Automatic 
Success Mechanism in uncovering the clues, facts, and evidence that 
prove it true; i.e., he arrives at the target. A lesser detective would, 
instead, remain mired in the massive difficulty of the task and the con- 
fusing, even conflicting testimonies, thus engaging his Automatic 
Failure Mechanism instead of his Automatic Success Mechanism. 

It’s also worth noting that Holmes is willing to be wrong and, 
when his first attempts at and proclamations of deduction prove far off 
course, he does not collapse in embarrassment or humiliation, or give 
control over to frustration and aggression, nor does he retreat into iso- 
lation. He virtually shrugs off his mistakes and quickly refocuses, zig- 
ging and zagging his way toward his ultimate objective. 

Thomas Edison’s wife once 1 observed that, “Mr. Edison worked 
endlessly on a problem, using the method of elimination. If a person 
asked him whether he were discouraged because so many attempts 
proved unavailing, he would say, ‘No, I am not discouraged, because 
every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.’” 

If outcomes were preordained and certain, no one would play a 
game, nor would thousands of spectators tune in to television to watch 
' it contested. 

We must learn to embrace the short-term uncertainties of the 
game, while staying connected to the targets we choose, and trusting 
that we will achieve our overriding objectives, albeit by zigging and 
zagging rather than a straight line. 

Reassure yourself that you are not your mistakes, so that you can 
freely acknowledge them, extract whatever useful feedback can be 
found in them, correct course, and continue moving forward. 

Resentment 

When the Automatic Failure Mechanism looks for a scapegoat or 
excuse for failure, it often serves up society, “the system,” life, the 
“breaks,” luck, the boss, the spouse, even the customer! People in the 
firm grip of their Automatic Failure Mechanisms resent the success 
and happiness of others because they are proof that life is short chang- 
ing them and they are being treated unfairly. Resentment is an attempt 



1 72 Chapter Nine 


to make our own failure palatable by explaining it in terms of unfair 
treatment, injustice. But, as a salve for failure, resentment is a cure that 
is worse than the disease. It is a deadly poison to the spirit, makes hap- 
piness impossible, and uses up tremendous energy that could go into 
accomplishment. 

Quite often, when people came to me in my practice, requesting 
surgical correction of insignificant imperfections on their faces mag- 
nified by their imaginations, conversations with them lead to a real- 
ization: They disliked what they saw when they looked in the mirror 
not due to the reality of the reflection, but the resentment harbored 
for just about everyone in their life and their life circumstances. 

Resentment Is a Way That Fails. Resentment is also a way of mak- 
ing us feel important. Many people get a perverse satisfaction from 
feeling wronged. The victim of injustice, the one who has been 
unfairly treated, is morally superior to those who caused the injustice. 

Resentment is also a way, or an attempt, to wipe out or eradicate 
a real or fancied wrong or injustice that has already happened. The 
resentful person is trying to “prove a case” before the court of life, so 
to speak If he can feel resentful enough and thereby “prove” the injus- 
tice, some magic process will reward him by making the event or cir- 
cumstance that caused the resentment “not so.” In this sense, 
resentment is a mental resistance to, a nonacceptance of, something 
that has already happened. The word itself comes from two Latin 
words: re, meaning back, and sentire, meaning to feel. Resentment is 
an emotional rehashing or refighting of some event in the past. You 
cannot win, because you are attempting to do the impossible — change 
the past. 

Resentment Creates an Inferior Self-Image. Resentment, even 
when based on real injustices and wrongs, is not the way to win. It 
soon becomes an emotional habit. Habitually feeling that you are a 
victim of injustice, you begin to picture yourself in the role of a vic- 
timized person. You carry around an inner feeling that is looking for 
an external peg to hang itself on. It is then easy to see “evidence” of 
injustice, or fancy you have been wronged, in the most innocent 
remark or neutral circumstance. 

Habitual resentment invariably leads to self-pity, which is the 
worst possible emotional habit anyone can develop. When these 
habits have become firmly ensconced, a person does not feel “right” or 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 73 


“natural” when they are absent. They then literally begin to search for 
and look for “injustices.” Someone has said that such people feel good 
only when they are miserable. 

Emotional habits of resentment and self-pity also go with an 
ineffective, inferior self-image. You begin to picture yourself as a piti- 
ful person, a victim, who was meant to be unhappy. 

The Real Cause of Resentment. Remember that your resentment is 
not caused by other persons, events, or circumstances. It is caused by 
your own emotional response, your own reaction. You alone have 
power over this, and you can control it if you firmly convince yourself 
that resentment and self-pity are not ways to happiness and success, 
but ways to defeat and unhappiness. 

As long as you harbor resentment, it is literally impossible for 
you to picture yourself as a self-reliant, independent, self-determining 
person who is “the Captain of his soul, the master of his Fate.” The 
resentful person turns over his reins to other people. They are allowed 
to dictate how he shall feel, how he shall act. He is wholly dependent 
on other people, just as a beggar is. He makes unreasonable demands 
and claims on other people. If everyone else should be dedicated to 
making you happy, you will be resentful when it doesn’t work out that 
way. If you feel that other people “owe” you eternal gratitude, undy- 
ing appreciation, or continual recognition of your superlative worth, 
you will feel resentment when these debts are not paid. If life owes you 
a living, you become resentful when it isn’t forthcoming. 

Resentment is therefore inconsistent with creative goal-striving. 
In creative goal-striving you are the creator, not the passive recipient. 
You set your goals. No one owes you anything. You go out after your 
own goals. You become responsible for your own success and happi- 
ness. Resentment doesn’t fit into this picture, and because it doesn’t it 
is a failure mechanism. 

In a sense, there is no justice, but we may manufacture just results 
for ourselves. It is fact that by the very act of birth, one person is 
unjustly set out to begin a hard life in a ghetto filled with street crime, 
while another, bom in a cross-town hospital that same moment, will 
begin life in a safe suburb. One will go to a school in disrepair, the 
other to a school with every modem advantage. Similarly, it is a fact 
that, in many sales offices, leads are disproportionately or unjustly dis- 
tributed by the sales manager to her “pets” and those in her “dog- 



1 74 Chapter Nine 


house.” It is a fact that promotion in corporate settings frequently 
occurs due to factors other than pure merit. We could go on and on. 
There’s no denying injustice. If you intend to insist on justice in order 
to live a successful and happy life, you will not do so in this lifetime, 
on this planet. 

The other day, just after emerging from my New York town- 
house, wearing a brand new, beautifully tailored suit out of the wrap- 
per for the very first time, en route to an important luncheon 
engagement, a passing taxi cab roared through a muddy puddle and 
splashed dirty water all over my pants. It occurred to me a more just 
arrangement would be if taxi cabs only splashed puddle water onto 
people wearing old work clothes already soiled, only if on their way 
home so that changing out of them would pose no inconvenience. 
Maybe I should lobby the mayor to pass such a law! 

Of course, I was helpless to undo this unjust incident or to do 
anything to eradicate this injustice in general from being part and par- 
cel of living in the city. I could certainly be more careful in the future, 
but that was neither here nor there. The immediate choice before me 
was to spend the rest of my day frustrated, angry, bitter and resentful, 
or to recalibrate and take whatever constructive actions possible to get 
back on track toward an enjoyable and productive meeting. 

I admit, it’s easier to react this way to such a minor injustice as 
taxi cabs, puddles, and soiled trousers than to racial injustice in society 
or bureaucratic injustice in your career. But the outcome will be the 
same. The fundamental choices are the same. And you can enjoy the 
powers of your Automatic Success Mechanism only if you choose to 
rise above injustice, small or large. 

Over years, Psycho-Cybernetics has found its way into quite a 
number of prison inmate counseling programs, classes, halfway house 
classes, and the like. I suppose thousands of copies of my books have 
been donated to prisons and to individual prisoners. Even today, The 
Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation does not deny sincere requests from 
inmates for the book. As a result, I’ve had many conversations with 
wardens, counselors, pastors, and others working in this environment 
and naturally the subject of recidivism comes up often. A great cost to 
individuals, families, and society is the majority of prisoners who, once 
released after serving time, fail to stay straight and wind up back in 
prison again. And again. I have become convinced that recidivism is 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 175 


nothing more than resentment realized. If a person emerges from 
prison into society with his resentments intact — resentment against 
his upbringing and background, his prosecutors and jailers, his current 
lack of resources, the difficulty he faces in gaining others’ acceptance 
and trust, etc. — he is nearly certain to commit new crimes and return 
himself to prison. Only the rare individual who manages to cleanse 
herself of these resentments and recalibrate is able to stay straight. 
Similarly, any individual who permits resentment to control her 
thoughts locks herself and her potential into a prison of her own mak- 
ing. She is her own hanging judge, discompassionate jury, and jailer. 

Emptiness 

Perhaps as you read this chapter you thought of someone who had 
been “successful” in spite of frustration, misdirected aggressiveness, 
resentment, etc. But do not be too sure. Many people acquire the out- 
ward symbols of success but when they go to open the long sought-for 
treasure chest, they find it empty. It is as if the money they have 
strained so hard to attain turns to counterfeit in their hands. Along the 
way, they lost the capacity to enjoy. And when you have lost the capacity 
to enjoy, no amount of wealth or anything else can bring success or 
happiness. These people win the nut of success but when they crack it 
open it is empty. 

Those who have the capacity to enjoy still alive within them find 
enjoyment in many ordinary and simple things in life. They also enjoy 
whatever success in a material way they have achieved. Those in whom 
the capacity to enjoy is dead can find enjoyment in nothing, be it a 
one-dollar ice cream cone or a million-dollar mansion. No goal is 
worth working for. Life is a terrible bore. Nothing is worthwhile. You 
can see these people by the hundreds night after night knocking them- 
selves out in night clubs trying to convince themselves they are enjoy- 
ing it. They travel from place to place, become entangled in a whirl of 
parties, hoping to find enjoyment, always finding an empty shell. The 
truth is that joy is an accompaniment of creative function, of creative 
goal striving. It is possible to win a fake “success,” but when you do 
you are penalized with an empty joy. 

Life Becomes Worthwhile When You Have Worthwhile Goals. 

This is the Psycho-Cybernetic secret to keeping your Automatic 



176 Chapter Nine 


Failure Mechanism safely asleep, not troubled by any assignment from 
you and not troubling you with the results of its labors. 


Life is worthwhile only when you have 
firmly fixed in your sights worthwhile goals. 


Emptiness is a symptom that you are not living creatively. You 
either have no goal that is important enough to you, or you are not 
using your talents and efforts in striving toward an important goal. 
The person who has no purpose of her own pessimistically concludes, 
“Life has no purpose.” The person who has no goal worth working for 
concludes, “Life is not worthwhile.” The person with no important 
job to do complains, “There is nothing to do.” The individual who is 
actively engaged in striving toward an important goal or goals does 
not come up with pessimistic philosophies concerning the meaning- 
lessness or the futility of life in general or his life in specific. 

Even the most elderly can — and do — operate as goal-striving, 
optimistic people. A wonderful trend has been the migration of 
retirees to small college towns, where they pursue goals of learning, 
education, mastery of interesting subjects, acquiring some skill they 
never found time to previously pursue, even mentoring others. Earlier 
in this book I described the four steps of the learning process; alive- 
ness is based on constantly setting new goals and then moving up that 
four-step ladder of learning in order to effectively pursue them. 

Emptiness Is Not a Way That Wins. Emptiness, once experienced, 
can become a way of avoiding effort, work, and responsibility. It 
becomes an excuse or a justification for noncreative living. If all is van- 
ity, if there is no new thing under the sun, if there is no joy to be found 
anyway, why bother? Why try? If life is just a treadmill, if we work 
eight hours a day so that we can afford a house to sleep in, so that we 
can sleep eight hours to become rested for another day’s work, why get 
excited about it? All these intellectual “reasons” vanish, however, and 
we experience joy and satisfaction, when once we get off the treadmill, 
stop going around and around in circles, and select a goal worth striv- 
ing for — and go after it. 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 1 77 

Emptiness and an Inadequate Self-Image Go Together. Emptiness 
may also be the symptom of an inadequate self-image. It is impossible 
to psychologically accept something that you feel does not belong to 
you or that is not consistent with your self. Those who hold an unwor- 
thy and undeserving self-image may hold their negative tendencies in 
check long enough to achieve a genuine success, then be unable to 
accept it psychologically and enjoy it. They may even feel guilty about 
it, as if they had stolen it. Their negative self-image may even spur 
them on to achievement by the well-known principle of overcompen- 
sation. But I do not subscribe to the theory that one should be proud 
of an inferiority complex or thankful for it just because it sometimes 
leads to the external symbols of success-. When “success” finally comes, 
such persons feel little sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. They 
are unable to take credit in their own minds for their accomplishments. 
To the world they are a success. They themselves still feel inferior, 
undeserving, almost as if they were thieves and had stolen the status 
symbols that they thought were so important. “If my friends and asso- 
ciates really knew what a phony I am,” they think. 

This reaction is so common that psychiatrists refer to it as the 
“success rejection syndrome,” the man who feels guilty, insecure and 
anxious, when he realizes he has succeeded. 

Only striving for goals that are important to you — not as status 
symbols, but because they are consistent with your own deep inner 
wants — is healthful. Striving for real success — for your success through 
creative accomplishment — brings a deep inner satisfaction. Striving for 
a phony success to please others brings a phony satisfaction. 


Mental Training Exercises 

Awareness, acknowledgment, and prompt reaction to a slumbering 
Automatic Failure Mechanism awakening and attempting to distract you 
with F-A-I-L-U-R-E is important. 

Glance at Negatives, But Focus on Positives 
Automobiles come equipped with “negative indicators” placed directly in 
front of the driver, to tell you when the battery is not charging, when the 
engine is becoming too hot, when the oil pressure is becoming too low, etc. 
To ignore these negatives might ruin your car. However, there is no need 


178 Chapter Nine 


to become unduly upset if a negative signal flashes. You merely stop at a 
service station or a garage, and take positive action to correct the problem. 
A negative signal does not mean the car is no good. All cars overheat at 
times. 

However, the driver of the automobile does not look at the control panel 
exclusively and continuously. To do so might be disastrous. She must focus 
her gaze through the windshield, look where she is going, and keep her pri- 
mary attention on her goal — where she wants to go. She merely glances at the 
negative indicators from time to time. When she does, she does not fix on 
them or dwell on them. She quickly focuses her sight ahead again and con- 
centrates on the positive goal of where she wants to go. 

How to Use Negative Thinking 

We should adopt a similar attitude about our own negative symptoms. I am 
a firm believer in “negative thinking” when used correctly. We need to be 
aware of negatives so that we can steer clear of them. A golfer needs to 
know where the bunkers and sand traps are, but he doesn’t think continu- 
ously about the bunker — where he doesn’t want to go. His mind glances at 
the bunker, but dwells on the green. Used correctly, this type of negative 
thinking can work for us to lead us to success, if: 

1 . We are sensitive to the negative to the extent that it can alert us to danger. 

2 . We recognize the negative for what it is — something undesirable, some- 
thing we don’t want, something that does not bring genuine happiness. 

3. We take immediate corrective action and substitute an opposite positive 
factor from the Success Mechanism. Such practice will in time create a 
sort of automatic reflex that becomes a part of our inner guidance sys- 
tem. Negative feedback will act as a sort of automatic control, to help us 
steer clear of failure and guide us to success. 

Take a few minutes toward the conclusion of each day, or midday and at 
day’s end if you can. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, enter your imagi- 
nation so as to revisit the day’s events and your behavior. Congratulate 
yourself on all your Automatic Success Mechanism reflective actions but 
take note of Automatic Failure Mechanism warning lights quietly flashing 
on the dashboard! Tell yourself that Automatic Failure Mechanism behav- 
ior is “not you” and is not to be tolerated. If corrections can be made for 
any that occurred, by all means make them. Be the bigger person by calling 
or going to see anyone who may deserve your apology, your gratitude, or 
your congratulations. 



How to Avoid Accidentally Activating Your Automatic Failure Mechanism 179 

Analyze your thoughts and actions of the day in terms of contributing 
toward achieving your goals, even measure your ratio of Automatic Success 
Mechanism-versus Automatic Failure Mechanism-driven activity; then 
resolve to improve that ratio. 

Do not fear self-analysis. Stick with self-coaching, avoid self-loathing. 
Conclude your private critique of the day by identifying positives you can 
build on and the recommitment to your goals and ideals. 


CHAPTER TEN 


How to Remove Emotional 
Scars and Give Yourself an 
Emotional Facelift 


Anger is really disappointed hope. 

— Erica Jong 


M he facelift business is booming. Cosmetic surgery 
_ A _ profession revenues have increased by double- 
digit percentages each year for the past handful of years. You now see 
mass television advertising offering any combination of procedures 
desired- — nose, ears, throat, whole facelift, breast enlargement, but- 
tocks improvement, tummy tuck — for a set monthly payment, akin to 
buying a car on payments! Still, many people seeking emotional sal- 
vation and satisfaction from the surgical scalpel will wake up with a 
new face or better sculpted body but with old disappointment and 
frustration. 

I and others have learned a great deal about Psycho-Cybernetics 
in the more than fifty years that have passed since I first began draw- 
ing the connection between patients coming to my office seeking to 
correct scars in their outer image and the existence of “scars” hidden 
away on their inner image or self-image. However, the fundamental 
analogy is every bit as valid as when first uncovered and recognized. 

As a medical doctor and surgeon, I have performed coundess 
operations of reconstructive as well as cosmetic facial surgery, and 
been privileged to lecture on such clinical techniques all over the 
world. Yet I have never become jaded about the miraculous systems 
built into the human body. For example, when you receive a physical 


180 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 181 


injury, such as a cut on the face, your body automatically forms scar 
tissue, which is both tougher and thicker than the original flesh. The 
purpose of the scar tissue is to form a protective cover or shell, nature’s 
way of insuring against another injury in the same place. If an ill-fit- 
ting shoe rubs against a sensitive part of your foot, the first result is 
pain and sensitiveness. But, again, nature protects against further pain 
and injury by forming a callus, a protective shell. 

We are inclined to do very much the same thing whenever we 
receive an emotional injury, when someone hurts us or rubs us the 
wrong way. We form emotional or spiritual scars for self-protection. 
We are very apt to become hardened of heart, callous toward the 
world, and to withdraw within a protective emotional shell of one kind 
or another. 


What We Can Learn, When Nature Needs an Assist 

In forming scar tissue, it is nature’s intention to be helpful. In our 
modern society, however, scar tissue, especially on the face, can work 
against us instead of for us. Take George T., for example, a promising 
young attorney. He was affable, personable, and well on his way to a 
successful career, when he had an automobile accident, which left him 
with a horrible scar from midway on his left cheek to the left corner 
of his mouth. Another cut, just over his right eye', pulled his upper eye- 
lid up tightly when it healed, which gave him a grotesque “glaring” 
appearance. Every time he looked in the bathroom mirror he saw a 
repulsive image. The scar on his cheek gave him a perpetual leer, or 
what he called an “evil look.” After leaving the hospital, he lost his first 
case in court, and was sure that his evil and grotesque appearance had 
influenced the jury. He felt that old friends were repelled and repulsed 
by his appearance. Was it only his imagination that even his own wife 
flinched slightly when he kissed her? 

George T. began to turn down cases. He started drinking during 
the day. He became irritable, hostile, and something of a recluse. 

The scar tissue on his face formed a tough protection against 
future automobile accidents. But in the society in which George lived, 
physical injuries to his face were not the primary hazard. He was more 
vulnerable than ever to social cuts, injuries, and hurts. His scars were 
a liability instead of an asset. 



1 82 Chapter Ten 


Had George been a primitive man and suffered facial scars from 
an encounter with a bear or a saber-toothed tiger, his scars would have 
probably made him more acceptable to his fellows. Even in fairly 
recent times old soldiers have proudly displayed their scars of battle. I 
suspect the same is true of young toughs in inner city gangs. 

In George’s case, nature had good intentions, but nature needed 
an assist. I gave George back his old face by plastic surgery, which 
removed the scar tissue and restored his features. 

Following surgery, the personality change in him was remark- 
able. He became his good-natured, self-confident self again. He 
stopped drinking. He gave up his lone wolf attitude, moved back into 
society, and became a member of the human race again. He literally 
found a new fife. 

This new life, however, was brought about only indirectly by 
plastic surgery on physical tissue. The real curative agent was the 
removal of emotional scars, the security against social cuts, the heal- 
ing of emotional hurts and injuries, and the restoration of his self- 
image as an acceptable member of society, which in his case surgery 
made possible. 

Most people build up a considerable amount of scar tissue on 
their self-images with no correlation whatsoever to actual physical dis- 
figurement that can be solved by a skilled surgeon with a scalpel. 


How Emotional Scars Alienate You from Life 

Many people have inner emotional scars who have never suffered 
physical injuries. And the result on personality is the same. These peo- 
ple have been hurt or injured by someone in the past. To guard against 
future injury from that source they form a spiritual callus, an emo- 
tional scar to protect their ego. This scar tissue, however, “protects” 
them not only against the individual who originally hurt them, but 
also all other human beings. An emotional wall is built through which 
neither friend nor foe can pass. 

Zig Ziglar tells an amusing story about a cat who innocently 
traipses across a stove top and lands on a burner still hot from recent 
use. With a loud yelp, the cat leaps off the stove and sulks away to 
nurse its tender paws. Zig says, not only won’t that cat ever climb up 
on that stove again, he’ll never even go into the kitchen! 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 1 83 


Emotional scar tissue built up on the self-image affects people like 
scorched paws affect that cat. Given several repeats of an unpleasant, 
embarrassing or frustrating “scarring” experience, the affected individ- 
ual not only avoids the precise situation, he avoids the general area in 
which it might occur. For example, I once counseled a very capable 
executive, rising up the ranks in a big corporation, who had been 
repeatedly chastened by his mentor and boss for sitting as quiet as a 
church mouse through meeting after meeting, only a spectator, not a 
participant. This fellow had very good ideas and input to offer, often 
did so privately, and often missed any credit for his contributions. In 
fact, most of his colleagues viewed him as “dead wood” and wondered 
about the boss’ motives for having this fellow on the payroll. 

You can probably do your own diagnosis at this point and guess 
right. This fellow had, throughout his junior and senior high school 
years, stuttered nervously if called on in class, suffered ridicule from 
other students, and, as a result,, withdrawn from active participation in 
his classes, doing his level best to be “invisible” at all times. Call that 
the first layer of self-image scar tissue. Fast forward to his first mar- 
riage. Both his ex-wife and ex-mother-in-law were domineering per- 
sonalities, quite possibly abusive, both constantly criticizing this 
fellow’s ideas, whether choice of clothes, political opinion, even an 
opinion about a book or TV program. Early in this marriage he 
adopted a keep-it-to-himself attitude. This became a second layer of 
scar tissue. 

Fast forward to a very recent year, when, active in his community 
association, he found himself at odds over an issue with a very influ- 
ential, egotistical, uncompromising, bullying, and far more persuasive 
neighbor. His adversary attacked any idea this fellow proposed thor- 
oughly and aggressively, and turned enough others against this fellow 
that he was summarily voted off the council at the end of his first year’s 
term. Layer number three. 

It didn’t matter now that he was not dealing with school children, 
an abusive mother-in-law, or neighbors, that he was in a very different 
environment, that he had the fall support of a powerful mentor and 
boss, that his suggestions would be listened to with respect, and that it 
was far more important for him to assert himself than at any of these 
other times. It didn’t matter that this situation was very different from 
the others. Like the entire kitchen is to one stove top burner, this sit- 



1 84 Chapter Ten 


uation was still in the general area of the others. Close enough to be 
threatening to his self-image. Consequently, instead of representing 
the self-image of the smart, competent, promising executive he was, in 
these circumstances, he represented the self-image of a “scaredy cat.” 


Putty, Not Plaster 

Could this man scrape away all this scar tissue and liberate his self- 
image? Absolutely, using all the tools of Psycho-Cybernetics we have 
discussed — awareness, rational thought, deliberate decision (i.e., 
establishing the target), purposeful use of the imagination, including 
the Theater of the Mind mental rehearsal techniques. 

In his fine book Profiles of Success and Power . ; Dr. Gene Llundrum 
writes: “Self-Image is not set in plaster, it is set in putty.” 

I’m known as a plastic surgeon, but as an amateur sculptor for 
many years, I enjoy taking scalpel to clay and have often sculpted, 
unsculpted, and resculpted a face in clay until it was exactly as I imag- 
ined. The clay or putty-like material stays soft and malleable enough 
to do so many, many times. In his infinite wisdom, God manufactured 
the self-image of similar material, so it remains malleable throughout 
our entire lives. No one is ever too old, too jaded, too frightened, or 
too traumatized to “wet the clay” and begin remaking it as they imag- 
ine and desire. 


Do Not Overprotect Yourself 

As in the case of a facial scar, excessive protection against the original 
source of injury can make us more vulnerable and do us even more 
damage in other areas. The emotional wall that we build as protection 
against one person or one situation cuts us off from all other human 
beings, from many opportunities, even from our real selves. As we 
have pointed out previously, the person who feels “lonely” or out of 
touch with other human beings also feels out of touch with his real self 
and with life. 

These listed techniques of Psycho-Cybernetics, all combined, 
place in your hands a most powerful, magical emotional scalpel, and 
they infuse your hands with the dynamic talent and ability of a world- 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 185 


class emotional surgeon, so that you may remove whatever emotional 
scars now inhibit your self-image. But to do so, you must take a risk. 
You must risk “bumps in the road,” disappointment, rejection, and 
mistakes with the certainty that they will occur but will not deter you 
from your overriding goals. 


Don't Underestimate the Power of Emotional Scars 

Built-up emotional scars, one atop the other, make the self-image a 
threatened and vulnerable entity that triggers “survival mode behav- 
ior” from the servo-mechanism — flee or fight, fear or pugnacious 
aggressiveness — whenever confronted with a situation it senses might 
harm it in the same way. as the past incidents that left scars. 

In a book titled Anxiety Disorders and Phobias , the authors,' 
including a cognitive therapist, state that, “...the same apparatus that 
prevents a person from venturing into physical danger also deters him 
from exposing himself to psychological danger.” In other words, the 
servo-mechanism may not be able to accurately assess the relativity of 
dangers. For example, you are not in any physical danger due to social 
embarrassment at a dinner party by not being able to hold up your end 
of a conversation, perhaps because you make less money than the 
other guests and feel inferior because of it, and are therefore fearful of 
being asked about your job or investments. Yet the situation may trig- 
ger the same kind of anxiety and inhibition as being confronted by a 
mugger in a dark alley. In the case of the mugger, meekly taking out 
your wallet and throwing it toward or past the mugger and running as 
fast as you can in the opposing direction may be appropriate. In the 
social situation, throwing away all opportunity for a pleasant evening 
and fleeing into silence or monosyllabic responses is wholly inappro- 
priate and may lead to the exact result you are worried about — being 
perceived badly by hosts and other guests alike. The social situation is 
most likely to trigger this survival reaction if it closely resembles some 
situations that have left scar tissue on the self-image. 

I would like to make one point addressed earlier in the book: You do 
not necessarily have to painstakingly revisit every incident or influence all 


'Aaron T. Beck, M.D. and Gary Emery, Ph.D., with Ruth L Greenberg, Ph. D. (New York: Basie 
Books, 1990 reprint edition 



1 86 Chapter Ten 


the way to early childhood in order to perform the emotional surgery 
needed to liberate a scarred self-image from this compulsive trigger- 
ing of survivalist behavior in situations where it is inappropriate and 
counterproductive. You can begin with fresh programming, using 
recall of successes, mental movies, mental rehearsal, and other 
Psycho-Cybernetics techniques. Acceptance of the new by the self- 
image will automatically remove the old scars. Remember the term 
“solution-oriented therapy” or better yet “do it yourself solution-ori- 
ented therapy” and think in those terms rather than the cliche of 30 
years of weekly visits to the couch. 


Emotional Scars Help Make Juvenile Delinquents 

Psychiatrist Bernard Holland has pointed out that, although juvenile 
delinquents appear to be very independent and have the reputation of 
being braggarts, particularly about how they hate everyone in author- 
ity, they protest too much. Underneath this hard exterior shell, says 
Dr. Holland, “is a soft vulnerable inner person who wants to be 
dependent upon others.” However, they cannot get close to anyone 
because they will not trust anyone. Sometime in the past they were 
hurt by a person important to them, and they dare not leave them- 
selves open to be hurt again. They always have their defenses up. To 
prevent further rejection and pain, they attack first. Thus, they drive 
away the very people who would love them, if given half a chance, and 
could help them. 

A popular staple of daytime television talk shows these days is the 
theme show featuring “teens out of control,” teens swearing, abusing 
their parents, skipping school, drinking, using drugs, engaging in 
promiscuous sex, even shoplifting and stealing cars. The show host 
and the parents turn these out-of-control teens over to military-type 
“juvenile boot camp” leaders who drag them off stage and take them 
away to “boot camp.” Weeks later, they return, many dramatically 
changed. This is all controversial, yet there is considerable evidence of 
it getting positive and lasting results more often than not. When it 
works, why does it work? Even at a young age, these youngsters have 
piled on layer on layer on layer on layer of scar tissue, so that their 
self-image has totally handed over the reins to negative, Automatic 
Failure Mechanism emotions, notably including aggression to the nth 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 1 87 


degree. You’ve no doubt heard the saying “desperate circumstances 
require desperate measures.” These boot camp interventions are des- 
perate, last-resort measures — in a sense, incredibly sharp emotional 
scalpels. To slice away all the protective, hardened scar tissue on these 
self-images requires these heavy-handed, confrontive techniques. 

Bottom-line: Most delinquency is symptomatic of severe emo- 
tional scarring, a profoundly unhealthy self-image, an Automatic 
Failure Mechanism unleashed and unchecked. 

Carefully consider all your own habitual or repetitive behaviors 
and life experiences. Do you suffer through one disappointing inti- 
mate relationship after another? Do you find one group of co-workers 
after another disagreeable? Are all your clients cheapskates or “diffi- 
cult”? And so on. Whether avoidance or aggression, self-image scar- 
ring is involved. 


Can We Prevent Future Emotional Scarring? 

There is a cowboy saying that is a favorite of this book’s editor: “The 
first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging.” We might say that 
the first step to liberating a scarred self-image is to stop piling on more 
scar tissue. Can we do so? Certainly. New knowledge about why you 
respond to certain stimuli as you do, heightened emphasis on rational 
thinking, and maturity can be your allies. Just as there are smart things 
you can do, that are within your sphere of control, to strengthen your 
physical immune system, such as eating certain foods and avoiding 
others, taking antioxidant vitamin supplements, regularly exercising, 
there are things you can do to strengthen your emotional immune sys- 
tem as well. 


Three Prescriptions for Immunizing Yourself 
Against Emotional Hurts 

Be Too Big to Feel Threatened 

Many people become “hurt” terribly by tiny pinpricks or what we call 
social slights. Everyone knows someone in the family, office, or circle 
of friends who is so thin-skinned and sensitive that others must be con- 
tinually on guard, lest offense be taken at some innocent word or act. 



1 88 Chapter Ten 


It is a well-known psychological fact that the people who become 
offended the easiest have the lowest self-esteem. We are hurt by things 
we conceive of as threats to our ego or self-esteem. Fancied emotional 
thrusts that go unnoticed by the person with wholesome self-esteem 
slice these people up terribly. Even real digs and cuts, which inflict a 
terrible injury to the ego of the person with low self-esteem, do not 
make a dent in the ego of those who think well of themselves. The per- 
son who feels undeserving, who doubts his own capabilities, and who 
has a poor opinion of himself becomes jealous at the drop of a hat. The 
person who secretly doubts her own worth and who feels insecure 
within herself, who sees threats to her ego where there are none exag- 
gerates and overestimates the potential damage from real threats. 

We all need a certain amount of emotional toughness and ego 
security to protect us from real and fancied ego threats. It wouldn’t be 
wise for our physical body to be covered over completely with a hard 
callus or a shell like a turtle’s. We would be denied the pleasure of all 
sensual feeling. But our body does have a layer of outer skin, the epi- 
dermis, for the purpose of protecting us from invasion of bacteria, 
small bumps and bruises, and small pinpricks. The epidermis is thick 
enough and tough enough to offer protection against small wounds, 
but not so thick or hard that it interferes with all feeling. Many people 
have no epidermis on their ego. They have only the thin, sensitive 
inner skin. They need to become thicker-skinned, emotionally tougher, 
so that they will simply ignore petty cuts and minor ego threats. 

Also, they need to build up their self-esteem, get a better and 
more adequate self-image of themselves so that they will not feel 
threatened by every chance remark or innocent act. A big strong per- . 
son does not feel threatened by a small danger; a weak, little person 
does. In the same way a healthy strong self-image does not feel itself 
threatened by every innocent or offhand remark. 

It seems that some people literally go through life waiting to be 
offended. They are rarely disappointed! 


Healthy Self-Images Do Not Bruise Easily 

The person who feels his self-worth is threatened by a slighting 
remark has a small weak ego and a small amount of self-esteem. He is 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 1 89 


self-centered, self-concerned, hard-to-get-along with, and what we 
call egotistic. But we do not cure a sick or weak ego by beating it 
down, undermining it, or making it even weaker through self-abnega- 
tion or trying to become selfless. Self-esteem is as necessary to the 
spirit as food is to the body. The cure for self-centeredness, self-con- 
cern, “egotism” and all the ills that go with it is the development of a 
healthy, strong ego by building up self-esteem. When a person has 
adequate self-esteem, little slights offer no threat at all; they are sim- 
ply passed over and ignored. Even deeper emotional wounds are likely 
to heal faster and cleaner, with no festering sores to poison life and 
spoil happiness. 


Don't Take Things So Personally 

I remember when Polish jokes were the rage, and having a real estate 
agent tell me that her office colleagues all disliked her for some reason 
and made fun of her at every opportunity. When I asked for the evi- 
dence she cited their telling of Polish jokes. This woman was married, 
however, and did not use her maiden name, which clearly revealed her 
Polish heritage. I had not known she was Polish until she told me. 

One of the businessmen I occasionally went to the driving range 
with delighted in telling me doctor jokes. I found them amusing, and 
never did it occur to me that he was secretly trying to wound me per- 
sonally. The two situations weren’t that different but the two self- 
images involved certainly were. 

When you habitually personalize every slight, every overheard 
conversation, even things you read or hear in media, you reveal a very 
thin-skinned self-image with the weakest of immunities. 

Be bigger than such things. Have bigger fish to fry, as the saying 
goes. The person in hot pursuit of meaningful, rewarding goals and a 
calendar of important things to do has little time to obsess over trivial 
slights and offenses. Most dumb, insensitive remarks are dumb, insen- 
sitive remarks; they have no hidden meaning, and searching for it — 
certainly being offended by it — is an utter waste of time. 

The popular writer of pulp westerns, Louis L’Amour, was once 
asked in an interview to reveal the hidden meaning behind the fact 
that none of the villains in any of his hundreds of books ever died from 



1 90 Chapter Ten 


the first bullet. The interviewer thought he was onto something. The 
novelist answered, “Because in those days, we got paid by the word.” 
I am not getting paid by the word, so I’ll move on! 


Mental Training Exercise 

Visit the supermarket. Find and buy two potatoes, the smallest, most 
stunted one, and the biggest one. Set them side by side on your desk or 
somewhere frequently visible to you during the day. You might even take a 
Polaroid photograph of the two of them side by side and post it on your 
automobile visor or dashboard, inside your briefcase, someplace you will 
see it. Let it trigger the thought that your self-image is bigger than a tiny, 
stunted potato, and ask yourself if you are acting as a big potato or a 
shrunken spud today! 


A Self-Reliant, Responsible Attitude Makes You Less Vulnerable 

As Dr. Holland has pointed out, the juvenile delinquent with the hard 
outer shell has a soft, vulnerable inner person who wants to be 
dependent on others and wants to be loved by others. 

Sales professionals tell me that those who put up the most sales 
resistance at the outset are frequently “easy” sells once you get past 
their defenses; that people who feel called on to put up “No salesmen 
allowed” signs do so because they know they are soft touches and need 
protection. 

The person with the hard, gruff, exterior, usually develops it 
because instinctively he realizes that he is so soft inside that he needs 
protection. 

The person who has little or no self-reliance, who feels emo- 
tionally dependent on others, makes herself most vulnerable to emo- 
tional hurts. Every human being wants and needs love and affection. 
But the creative, self-reliant person also feels a need to give love. Her 
emphasis is as much or more on the giving, as on the getting. She 
doesn’t expect love to be handed to her on a silver platter. Nor does 
she have a compulsive need that “everybody” must love her and 
approve of her. 






How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 191 


The passive-dependent person turns her entire destiny over to 
other people, circumstances, luck. Life owes her a living and other 
people owe her consideration, appreciation, love, happiness. She 
makes unreasonable demands and claims on other people and feels 
cheated, wronged, hurt when they aren’t fulfilled. Because life just isn’t 
built that way, she is seeking the impossible and leaving herself “wide 
open” to emotional hurts and injuries. 

Once, while speaking to a large convention of salespeople, I met 
another professional speaker I had heard quite a bit about. He was very 
successful and in considerable demand in the sales world, but he told 
me that he rarely got fan mail and almost never got rounds of hearty 
applause when he concluded his presentations. And he seemed oddly 
proud of the fact. When I asked about this, he explained “It’s because I 
make 'em mad.” He went on to quote the Harry Truman “give ‘em 
hell” quote; Truman reportedly said, “I don’t give ‘em hell. I tell them 
the truth and they think it’s hell.” Or something like that. Anyway, this 
fellow was one of the busiest, highest paid, least beloved speakers in the 
business — and proud of it! His corporate clients who paid his fees loved 
having him lay into the troops. Often, his pot-stirring of indignation 
converted into heightened sales performance immediately, as many of 
the salespeople determined to “show that s.o.b. something.” This is 
somewhat the equivalent of the football coach posting a newspaper 
clipping in the locker-room quoting players from the next opposing 
team “dissing” them. I’ll freely admit, it’s not a role as a speaker I would 
seek out or enjoy. But it is interesting how self-reliant and immune his 
self-image is to the lack of love in the room! 

It is up to you to develop a more self-reliant attitude. Assume 
responsibility for your own life and emotional needs. We have a say- 
ing, “Give yourself your own gold stars.” As emotionally immature 
children, we look to parents and teachers for gold stars. Draw or color 
a picture, immediately race to take it to Mom, who ooh’s and aah’s 
over it and proudly displays it on the refrigerator door with magnets. 
As an adult, you must graduate from such urgent neediness. You must 
be able to admire your own good work and recognize your own 
achievements. 

This loops back to the discussion about your AQ in Chapter 8. 
The refusal to blame ourselves or others or to accept a problem as 
beyond our influence gives us resiliency in the face of adversity. 



192 Chapter Ten 


Relax Away Emotional Hurts 

I once had a patient ask me, “If the forming of scar tissue is a natural 
and automatic thing, why doesn’t scar tissue form when a plastic sur- 
geon makes an incision?” 

The answer is that if you cut your face and it heals naturally, scar 
tissue will form, because a certain amount of tension in the wound and 
just underneath the wound pulls the surface of the skin back, creates a 
gap, which is filled in by scar tissue. A plastic surgeon who operates 
and not only pulls the skin together closely by suturing, but also cuts 
out a small amount of flesh underneath the skin so that there is no ten- 
sion present. The incision heals smoothly, evenly, and with no distort- 
ing surface scar. It is interesting to note that the same thing happens 
in the case of an emotional wound. If there is no tension present, there 
is no disfiguring emotional scar left. 

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get your feelings hurt, or 
take offense, when you are suffering tensions brought about by frus- 
tration, fear, anger, or depression? 

We go to work feeling out of sorts or down in the dumps, or with 
self-confidence shaken because of some adverse experience. A friend 
comes by and makes a joking remark. Nine times out of ten we would 
laugh, think it funny, “think nothing about it,” and make a good- 
natured crack in return. But not today. 

Today, we are suffering tensions of self-doubt, insecurity, anxiety. 
We take the remark in the wrong way, become offended and hurt, and 
an emotional scar begins to form. 

This simple, everyday experience illustrates very well the princi- 
ple that we are injured and hurt emotionally not so much by other 
people or what they say or don’t say, but by our own attitude and our 
own response. 


Relaxation Cushions Emotional Blows 

When we feel hurt or offended, the feeling is entirely a matter of our 
own response. In fact, the feeling is our response. 

It is our own responses that we have to be concerned about, not 
other people’s. We can tighten up, become angry, anxious, or resent- 
ful and feel hurt. Or we can make no response, remain relaxed and feel 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 1 93 


no hurt. Scientific experiments have shown that it is absolutely impos- 
sible to feel fear, anger, anxiety, or negative emotions of any kind while 
the muscles of the body are kept perfecdy relaxed. We have to do 
something to feel fear, anger, anxiety. “No man is hurt but by himself,” 
said Diogenes. 

“Nothing can work me damage except myself,” said St. Bernard. 
“The harm that I sustain I carry about with me, and am never a real 
sufferer but by my own fault.” 

You alone are responsible for your responses and reactions. You do 
not have to respond at all. You can remain relaxed and free from injury. 


Prescription 

Take time each and every day to apply these three principles. Take time to 
relax and destress. Make notes, even written notes, of your accomplish- 
ments and progress toward your goals. A written “success diary” is a very 
simple tool for building a stronger self-image. Create a visualization, a 
mental picture or two to call up and assist you when confronted by unjust 
criticism, “catty” remarks, or other attacks on your self-image. One patient 
of mine told me he would call up a cartoon-like image of his head on 
Superman’s body, standing in the classic Superman pose, chest stuck out, 
bullets bouncing off, cape flying in the wind. 


How to Remove Old Emotional Scars 

We can prevent, and immunize ourselves against, emotional scars by 
practicing the three foregoing rules. But what about the old emo- 
tional scars formed in the past — the old hurts, grudges, grievances 
against life, resentments? 

Once an emotional scar has formed, there is but one thing to do 
and that is to remove it by surgery, the same as a physical scar. 

Give Yourself a Spiritual Facelift 

In removing old emotional scars, you alone can do the operation. You 
must become your own plastic surgeon, and give yourself a spiritual 
face lift. The results will be new life and new vitality, a newfound 
peace of mind and happiness. 






1 94 Chapter Ten 


To speak of an emotional facelift and the use of mental surgery is 
more than a simile. 

Old emotional scars cannot be doctored or medicated. They 
must be “cut out,” given up entirely, eradicated. Many people apply 
various kinds of salve or balm to old emotional wounds, but this sim- 
ply does not work. They may self-righteously forego overt and physi- 
cal revenge, yet “take it out” or “get even” in many subtle ways. A 
typical example is the wife who discovers her husband’s infidelity. 
Upon the advice of her minister and/or psychiatrist, she agrees she 
should forgive him. Accordingly she does not shoot him. She does not 
leave him. In all overt behavior she is a dutiful wife. She keeps the 
house neatly; she prepares meals well; and so on. But she makes his life 
hell on earth in many subtle ways by the coldness of her heart and by 
flaunting her moral superiority. When he complains, her answer is, 
“Well, dear, I did forgive you — but I cannot forget.” Her very “for- 
giveness” becomes a thorn in his side, because she is conscious of the 
fact that it is proof of her moral superiority. She would have been 
more kind to him, and been happier herself, had she refused this type 
of forgiveness and left him. 

Forgiveness Is a Scalpel That Removes Emotional Sears 

“‘I can forgive, but I cannot forget,’ is only another way of saying ‘I 
will not forgive,”’ said Henry Ward Beecher. “Forgiveness ought to be 
like a canceled note — tom in two, and burned up, so that it never can 
be shown against one.” 

Forgiveness, when it is real and genuine and complete, and for- 
gotten — is the scalpel which can remove the pus from old emotional 
wounds, heal them, and eliminate scar tissue. 

Forgiveness which is partial, or half-hearted, works no better 
than a partially completed surgical operation on the face. Pretended 
forgiveness, which is entered into as a duty, is no more effective than 
a simulated facial surgery. 

Your forgiveness should be forgotten, as well as the wrong which 
was forgiven. Forgiveness which is remembered, and dwelt upon, re- 
infects the wound you are attempting to cauterize. If you are too 
proud of your forgiveness, or remember it too much, you are very apt 
to feel that the other person owes you something for forgiving him. 
You forgive him one debt, but in doing so, he incurs another, much 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 1 95 


like the operators of small loan companies who cancel one note and 
make out a new one every two weeks. 

Forgiveness Is Not a Weapon 

There are many common fallacies regarding forgiveness, and one of 
the reasons that its therapeutic value has not been more recognized is 
the fact that real forgiveness has been so seldom tried. For example, 
many writers have told us that we should forgive to make us “good.” 
We have seldom been advised to forgive that we might be happy. 
Another fallacy is that forgiveness places us in a superior position or is 
a method of winning out over our enemy. This thought has appeared 
in many glib phrases, such as “Don’t merely try to ‘get even’ — forgive 
your enemy and you ‘get ahead’ of him.” Tillotson, the former Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury, tells us, “A more glorious victory cannot be 
gained over another man, than this, that when the injury began on his 
part, the kindness should begin on ours.” This is just another way of 
saying that forgiveness itself can be used as an effective weapon of 
revenge, which it can. Revengeful forgiveness, however, is not thera- 
peutic forgiveness. 

Therapeutic forgiveness cuts out, eradicates, cancels, makes the 
wrong as if it had never been. Therapeutic forgiveness is like surgery. 

Give Up Grudges as You Would a Gangrenous Arm 

First, the wrong — and particularly our own feeling of condemnation 
of it — must be seen as an undesirable thing rather than a desirable 
thing. Before anyone can agree to have an arm amputated, he must 
cease to see the arm as a desirable thing to be retained, but as an unde- 
sirable, damaging, and threatening thing to be given up. 

In facial surgery there can be no partial, tentative, or halfway 
measures. The scar tissue is cut out, completely and entirely. The 
wound is allowed to heal cleanly. And care is taken to see that the face 
will be restored in every particular, just as it was before injury and just 
as if the injury had never been. 

You Can Forgive-lf You're Willing 

Therapeutic forgiveness is not difficult. The only difficulty is to secure 
your own willingness to give up and do without your sense of con- 



1 96 Chapter Ten 


demnation — your willingness to cancel out the debt — with no mental 
reservations. 

We find it difficult to forgive only because we like our sense of 
condemnation. We get a perverse and morbid enjoyment out of nurs- 
ing our wounds. As long as we can condemn others, we can feel supe- 
rior to them. No one can deny that there is also a perverse sense of 
satisfaction in feeling sorry for yourself. 

Your Reasons for Forgiveness Are Important 

In therapeutic forgiveness we cancel out the debt of the other person, 
not because we have decided to be generous, do a favor, or we are a 
morally superior person. We cancel the debt, mark it “null and void,” 
not because we have made the other person “pay” sufficiently for the 
wrong, but because we have come to recognize that the debt itself is 
not valid. True forgiveness comes only when we are able to see, and 
emotionally accept, that there is and was nothing for us to forgive. We 
should not have condemned or hated the other person in the first 
place. 

Not long ago I went to a luncheon also attended by a number of 
clergy. The subject of forgiveness came up in general, and then the 
case of the adulterous woman whom Jesus forgave in particular. I lis- 
tened to a very learned discussion of why Jesus was able to “forgive” 
the woman, how he forgave her, how his forgiveness was a rebuke to 
the church men of his time who were ready to stone her, etc. etc. 

Jesus Didn't "Forgive" the Adulterous Woman 

I resisted the temptation to shock these gentlemen by pointing out 
that actually Jesus never forgave the woman at all. Nowhere in the 
narrative, as it appears in the New Testament, is the word “forgive” or 
“forgiveness” used, or even hinted at. Nor can it be reasonably implied 
from the facts as given in the story. We are told merely that after her 
accusers had left, Jesus asked the woman, “Hath no man condemned 
thee?” When she answered in the negative, he said, “Neither do I 
condemn thee. Go and sin no more.” 

You cannot forgive others unless you have first condemned them. 
Jesus never condemned the woman in the first place; so there was 
nothing for him to forgive. He recognized her sin or her mistake, but 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 197 


did not feel called on to hate her for it. He was able to see, before the 
fact, what you and I must see after the fact in practicing therapeutic 
forgiveness: that we ourselves err when we hate others because of their 
mistakes, when we condemn them, or when we classify them as certain 
types, confusing the person with the behavior, or when we mentally 
incur a debt that others must “pay” before being restored to our good 
graces and our emotional acceptance. 

Whether you ought to do this, whether you should do it, or 
whether you can reasonably be expected to do it is a matter outside the 
scope of this book and my own field. I can only tell you as a doctor that 
if you will do it, you will be far happier and healthier, and you will 
attain more peace of mind. However, I would like to point out that this 
is what therapeutic forgiveness is, and that it is the only type of for- 
giveness that really works. And if forgiveness is anything less than this, 
we might as well stop talking about it. 

Forgive Yourself as Well as Others 

Not only do we incur emotional wounds from others; most of us 
inflict them on ourselves. 

We beat ourselves over the head with self-condemnation, 
remorse, and regret. We beat ourselves down with self-doubt. We cut 
ourselves up with excessive guilt. 

Remorse and regret are attempts to emotionally live in the past. 
Excessive guilt is an attempt to make right in the past something we 
did wrong or thought of as wrong in the past. 

Emotions are used correctly and appropriately when they help us 
to respond or react appropriately to a reality in the present environ- 
ment. Since we cannot live in the past, we cannot appropriately react 
emotionally to the past. The past can be simply written off, closed, 
forgotten, insofar as our emotional reactions are concerned. We do 
not need to take an “emotional position” one way or the other regard- 
ing detours that might have taken us off course in the past. The 
important thing is our present direction and our present goal. 

We need to recognize our own efforts as mistakes. Otherwise we 
could not correct course. “Steering” or “guidance” would be impossi- 
ble. But it is futile and fatal to hate or condemn ourselves for our mis- 
takes. A study on guilt conducted at Case Western Reserve University, 
reported in Reader's Digest (September 1997) found that the average 



1 98 Chapter Ten 


person spends two hours a day feeling guiltyl Much of this is even pres- 
ent moment guilt: the working mother who feels guilty while at work 
about not being at home with her children, then guilty if at home in 
the afternoon with her children for not pulling her weight at work; the 
exhausted son or daughter of an aging, infirm parent, guilty for feel- 
ing a bit irritable; the traveling executive who feels guilty about miss- 
ing his daughter’s recital at school. 

You cannot see your future with optimistic eyes if you cannot 
view your present and past with kind eyes. This is not to suggest sim- 
ply letting yourself off the hook at every turn. Responsibility is impor- 
tant. But what I call The Critic Within is so much more powerful than 
other critics, we must take care not to let it run roughshod over our 
self-image. 

Once, after lecturing to a large group of inmates at an Oklahoma 
prison, I came away with a realization: Here I had been in the com- 
pany of robbers, murderers, people who had made horrendous mis- 
takes, in some cases repeatedly, yet most did not blame or punish 
themselves as much as many people on the outside do, for much less 
serious missteps in a life 99% made up of honest, ethical behavior. It 
is common for inmates to be jail house lawyers, fighting for their 
rights inside prison, while many good citizens deprive themselves of 
their basic, inalienable rights to pursue happiness solely through their 
own excessive self-criticism and self-punishment. As we drove away 
from the prison with its huge concrete walls, rolls of barbed wire on 
the top of the walls, and armed guards in towers, I thought to myself 
that many people build prisons far more intimidating than these, then 
lock themselves up in them, all because of some past “sin.” I am not a 
great believer in sin, but if there is sin, it is for people who waste their 
lives chastising themselves for mistakes they’ve made, mistakes that 
are only human. 

You Make Mistakes-Mistakes Do Not Make "You" 

In thinking of our own mistakes (or those of others) it is helpful, and 
realistic, to think of them in terms of what we did or did not do, rather 
than in terms of what the mistakes made us. 

One of the ‘biggest mistakes we can make is to confuse our behav- 
ior with our self, to conclude that because we did a certain act it char- 
acterizes us as a certain sort of person. It clarifies thinking if we can 



How to Remove Emotional Scars and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 1 99 

see that mistakes involve something we do: They refer to actions, and 
to be realistic we should use verbs denoting action, rather than nouns 
denoting a state of being in describing them. 

For example, to say “I failed” (verb form) is but to recognize an 
error, and can help lead to future success. 

But to say, “I am a failure” (noun form) does not describe what 
you did, but what you think the mistake did to you. This does not con- 
tribute to learning, but tends to fixate the mistake and make it perma- 
nent. This has been proved over and over in clinical psychological 
experiments. 

We seem to recognize that all children, in learning to walk, will 
occasionally fall. We say he “fell” or she “stumbled.” We do not say 
“he is a faller” or “she is a stumbler.” 

However, many parents fail to recognize that all children, in 
learning to talk, also make mistakes or “nonfluences” — hesitation, 
blocking, repetition of syllables and words. It is a common experience 
for an anxious, concerned parent to conclude, “He is a stutterer.” Such 
an attitude, or a judgment — not of the child’s actions but of the child — 
gets across to the child, who begins to think of himself as a stutterer. 
His learning is fixated, and the stutter tends to become permanent. 

According to Dr. Wendell Johnson, the nation’s foremost author- 
ity on stuttering at the time I wrote the original edition of this book, 
this 'sort of thing is the cause of stuttering. He found that the parents 
of nonstutterers are more likely to use descriptive terms (“He did not 
speak”), whereas the parents of stutterers were inclined to use judg- 
mental terms (“He could not speak”). Writing in the Saturday Evening 
Post Qanuary 5, 1957), Dr. Johnson said, “Slowly we began to com- 
prehend the vital point that had been missed for so many centuries. 
Case after case had developed after it had been diagnosed as stuttering 
by over-anxious persons unfamiliar with the facts of normal speech 
development. The parents rather than the child, the listeners rather 
than the speakers, seemed to be the ones most requiring understand- 
ing and instruction.” 

Dr. Knight Dunlap, who made a twenty-year study of habits, 
their making, unmaking, and relation to learning, discovered that the 
same principle applied to virtually all “bad habits,” including bad emo- 
tional habits. It was essential, he said that patients learn to stop blam- 
ing themselves, condemning themselves, and feeling remorseful over 
their habits — if they were to cure them. He found particularly damag- 



200 Chapter Ten 


ing the conclusion, “I am ruined,” or “I am worthless,” because the 
patient had done, or was doing, certain acts. 

So remember you make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make you — 
anything! 

What you do need not define who you are or what you will do! 


You Are Not Your Mistakes. 


Who Wants to Be an Oyster? 

One final word about preventing and removing emotional hurts. To 
live creatively, we must be willing to be a little vulnerable. We must be 
willing to be hurt a little, if necessary, in creative fiving. A lot of peo- 
ple need a thicker and tougher emotional skin than they have. But they 
need only a tough emotional hide or epidermis, not a shell. To trust, 
to love, to open ourselves to emotional communication with other 
people is to run the risk of being hurt. If we are hurt once, we can do 
one of two things. We can build a thick protective shell, or scar tissue, 
to prevent being hurt again, live like an oyster, and not be hurt. 

Or we can “turn the other cheek,” remain vulnerable and go on 
living creatively. 

An oyster is never hurt. It has a thick shell that protects it from 
everything. It is isolated. An oyster is secure, but not creative. It can- 
not go after what it wants, it must wait for it to come to it. An oyster 
knows none of the hurts of emotional communication with the envi- 
ronment, but neither can an oyster know the joys. 

An Emotional Facelift Makes You Look and Feel Younger 

As this edition is being written, the so-called “baby boomer” genera- 
tion is hitting the 50-year-old mark and is more obsessed with stop- 
ping the clock, even turning back the clock, than any generation 
before. Fortunes are spent on cosmetic surgery, liposuction, fitness 
gyms and devices, personal trainers, lotions and potions, growth hor- 
mone injections, on and on. 

I have a different prescription! Try giving yourself a spiritual 
facelift. It is more than a play on words. It opens you up to more life, 



How to Remove Emotional Sears and Give Yourself an Emotional Facelift 201 


more vitality, the stuff that youth is made of. You’ll feel younger. You’ll 
actually look younger. Many times I have seen a man or woman appar- 
ently grow five or ten years younger in appearance after removing old 
emotional scars. Look around you. Who are the youthful looking peo- 
ple you know over the age of forty? The grumpy? Resentful? The pes- 
simistic? The ones who are soured on the world? Or are they the 
cheerful, optimistic, good-natured people? 

Remember I am a medical doctor, a plastic surgeon. I am 
absolutely serious and sincere when I tell you that you can look years 
younger in face and posture, and feel years younger in health and vital- 
ity, thanks to emotional surgery and self-image strengthening with 
Psycho-Cybernetics! 

Carrying a grudge against someone or against life can bring on 
the old age stoop, just as much as carrying a heavy weight around on 
your shoulders would. People with emotional scars, grudges, and the 
like are living in the past, which is characteristic, of old people. The 
youthful attitude and youthful spirit that erases wrinkles from the soul 
and the face, and that puts a sparkle in the eye, looks to the future and 
has a great expectation to look forward to. 

So why not give yourself a facelift? Your do-it-yourself kit con- 
sists of the relaxation of negative tensions to prevent scars, therapeu- 
tic forgiveness to remove old scars, providing yourself with a tough 
(but not a hard) epidermis instead of a shell, creative living, a willing- 
ness to be a little vulnerable, and a nostalgia for the future instead of 
the past. 


Mental Training Exercises 

By far, the most challenging and rewarding exercises of all suggested in this 
book are these involving forgiveness. Choose one or two persons for whom 
you’ve long carried resentment over past slights and find a way in your 
heart to truly, completely forgive them, no strings attached, and ultimately 
do so via your actions toward them. Also, identify some past error or situ- 
ation you have been carrying a grudge against yourself for, and forgive 
yourself, and finally, once and for all, banish this from your thoughts. This 
may very well require considerable work in your imagination factory. Invest 
30 minutes a day for 21 consecutive days on quiet reflection, working on 
this with yourself, in solitude. 




202 Chapter Ten 


Key Ideas for Do-It-Yourself Emotional Surgery 
to Remove Self-Image Sears with 
Psyeho-Cyberneties 


Your Talents 


THE SELF-IMAGE 
GUARDS THE 
SERVO-MECHANISM 



TALENTS 

ACTION 

'WSm servo- 

|V MECHANISM 
V = ACCESS TO... 

ABILITIES 

FOLLOW THROUGH 

SKILL 

ENTHUSIAM 


CONFIDENCE 

ENDURANCE 



CHAPTER ELEVEN 


How to Unlock Your Real 
Personality 

X 

To avoid criticism , do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. 

— Elbert Hubbard 


^■“Personality, that magnetic and mysterious some- 
JL. thing that is easy to recognize but difficult to 
define, is not so much acquired from without as released from within. 

What we call “personality” is the outward evidence of that 
unique and individual creative self, made in the image of God, that 
spark of divinity within us or what might be called the free and full 
expression of your real self. 

This real self within every person is attractive. It is magnetic. It 
does have a powerful impact and influence on other people. We have 
the feeling that we are in touch with something real and basic, and it 
does something to us. On the other hand, a phony is universally dis- 
liked and detested. 


Why does everyone love babies? Certainly not for what babies 
can do, or what they know or have, but simply because of what they 
are. Infants have “personality plus.” There is no superficiality, no 
phoniness, no hypocrisy. In their own language, which consists mostly 
of either crying or cooing, they express their real feelings. They “say 
what they mean.” There is no guile. Babies are emotionally honest. 
They exemplify to the wth degree the psychological dictum, “Be your- 
self.” They have no qualms about expressing themselves. They are not 
in the least inhibited. 


203 



204 Chapter Eleven 

Babies are proof that all inhibition is learned, taught to the self- 
image, not born within the self-image. 


Everyone Has a Dynamic Personality 
Locked Up Within Him 

Every human being has the mysterious something we call personality. 

When we say that people have a “good personality,” what we 
really mean is that they have freed and released the creative potential 
within them and are able to express their real self. 

“Poor personality” and “inhibited personality” are one and the 
same. Individuals with a “poor personality” do not express the creative 
self within. They have restrained it, handcuffed it, locked it up, and 
thrown away the key. The word “inhibit” literally means to stop, pre- 
vent, prohibit, restrain. The inhibited personality has imposed a 
restraint on the expression of the real self. For one reason or another 
the person is afraid to express himself, afraid to be himself, and has 
locked up his real self within an inner prison. The symptoms of inhi- 
bition are many and varied: shyness, timidity, self-consciousness, hos- 
tility, feelings of excessive guilt, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, 
inability to get along with others. 

Frustration is characteristic of practically every area and activity 
of the inhibited personality. The real and basic frustration is the failure 
to “be himself’ and the failure to adequately express himself. But this 
basic frustration is likely to color and overflow into all that he does. 


Excessive Negative Feedback Equals Inhibition 

Thfe science of cybernetics gives us a new insight into the inhibited 
personality, and shows us the way toward disinhibition, freedom, and 
how to release our spirits from self-imposed prisons. 

Negative feedback in a servo-mechanism is equivalent to criti- 
cism. Negative feedback says in effect, “You are wrong, you are off 
course, you need to take corrective action to get back on the beam.” 
The purpose of negative feedback, however, is to modify response, 
and change the course of forward action, not to stop it altogether. 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 205 


If negative feedback is working properly, a missile or a torpedo 
reacts to “criticism” just enough to correct course and keeps going for- 
ward toward the target. This course will be, as we have previously 
explained, a series of zig-zags. 

However, if the mechanism is too sensitive to negative feedback, 
the servo-mechanism overcorrects. Instead of progressing toward the 
target, it will perform exaggerated lateral zig-zags or stop all forward 
progress altogether. 

Our own built-in servo-mechanism works in the same way. We 
must have negative feedback in order to operate purposely, in order to 
steer our way or be guided to a goal. 

Negative feedback always says in effect, “Stop what you’re doing 
or the way you’re doing it, and do something else.” Its purpose is to 
modify response or change the degree of forward action, not to stop 
all action. Negative feedback does not say, “Stop — period!” It says, 
“What you are doing is wrong,” but it does not say, “it is wrong to do 
anything.” 

Yet where negative feedback is excessive or where our own mech- 
anism is too sensitive to negative feedback, the result is not modifica- 
tion of response — but total inhibition of response. 

Inhibition and excessive negative feedback are one and the same. 
When we overreact to negative feedback or criticism, we are likely to 
conclude that not only is our present course slightly off beam, or 
wrong, but that it is wrong for us even to want to go forward. 

A hiker or a hunter often gets back to the automobile by picking 
out some prominent landmark near the car, such as an extra tall tree that 
can be seen for miles. When returning to the car, the hiker looks for the 
tree (or target) and starts walking toward it. From time to time the tree 
may be lost from his view, but the course can be checked by comparing 
the hiker’s direction with the location of the tree. If the course is 15 
degrees to the left of the tree, what the hiker is doing is “wrong.” He 
immediately corrects the course and again walks directly toward the 
tree. He does not , however, conclude that it is wrong for him to walk. 

Yet many of us are guilty of just so foolish a conclusion. When it 
comes to our attention that our manner of expression is off course, 
missing the mark, or “wrong,” we conclude that self-expression itself 
is wrong or that success for us (reaching our target tree) is wrong. 

Keep in mind that excessive negative feedback has the effect of 
interfering with, or stopping completely, the appropriate response. 



206 Chapter Eleven 

Stuttering as a Demonstration of Inhibition 

Stuttering offers a good illustration of how excessive negative feed- 
back brings on inhibition and interferes with appropriate response. 

While most of us are not consciously aware of the fact, when we 
talk we receive negative feedback data through our ears by listening to 
or “monitoring” our own voice. This is the reason that totally deaf 
individuals seldom speak well. They have no way of knowing whether 
their voice is coming out as a shriek, a scream, or an unintelligible 
mumble. This is also the reason that persons born deaf do not learn to 
talk at all, except with special tutoring. If you sing, perhaps you have 
been surprised to find that you could not sing on key, or in harmony 
with others, while suffering temporary deafness or partial deafness 
because of a cold. 

Thus, negative feedback itself is no bar or handicap to speech. 
On the contrary, it enables us to speak and speak correctly. Voice teach- 
ers advise that we record our own voices on a tape recorder and listen 
to them as a method of improving tone, enunciation, etc. By doing this 
we become aware of errors in speech that we had not noticed before. 
We are able to see clearly what we are doing “wrong,” and we can 
make correction. 

However, if negative feedback is to be effective in helping us talk 
better, it should (1) be more or less automatic or subconscious, (2) it 
should occur spontaneously, or while we're talking, and (3) response to 
feedback should not be so sensitive as to result in inhibition. 

If we are consciously overcritical of our speech, or if we are too 
careful in trying to avoid errors in advance, rather than reacting spon- 
taneously, stuttering is likely to result. 

If the stutterer’s excessive feedback can be toned down, or if it 
can be made spontaneous rather than anticipatory, improvement in 
speech will be immediate. 

Video tape has provided an extraordinarily valuable feedback tool 
for people seeking to improve their communication effectiveness. 
Chiropractors and dentists role-play their case presentations to 
patients on video, with consultants acting as the skeptical patients, 
then study the video replay. Sales professionals do the same. Speakers, 
seminar leaders, politicians, and their speech coaches make similar use 
of it. Golfers’ swings can be better analyzed and the golfers’ better 
coached by video taping the swing. Football players “study film.” This 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 207 


is extremely valuable only to the person with a sufficiently healthy 
self-image not to obsess over every mistake and flaw observed, and 
able to focus on “course correction” through observation. 

What many people and coaches do not fully understand about 
such feedback, about capturing performance on tape for careful obser- 
vation and analysis, is that it is equally important and often more use- 
ful to identify, focus on, and imprint the “positives” rather than the 
“negatives.” 

Care must be taken not to overly emphasize a flaw in perform- 
ance to such a degree that it becomes mistakenly received by the 
servo-mechanism as the “target.” You might think of this in the con- 
text of the old mind trick: Tell people to close their eyes for 60 seconds 
and think of anything but a dancing pink elephant in red boxer shorts 
on roller skates. Invariably, what mental picture dominates? Be careful 
you do not manufacture “pink elephants” for yourself or permit 
coaches to do it for you. 


Conscious Self-Criticism Makes You Do Worse 

This has been proved by Dr. E. Colin Cherry of London, England. 
Writing in the British scientific journal, Nature, Dr. Cherry stated his 
belief that stuttering was caused by “excessive monitoring.” To test his 
theory he equipped 2 5 severe stutterers with earphones through which 
a loud tone drowned out the sound of their own voices. When asked 
to read aloud from a prepared text under these conditions, which elim- 
inated self-criticism, the improvement was “remarkable.” Another 
group of severe stutterers was trained in “shadow-talk” — to follow as 
closely as possible and attempt to “talk with” a person reading from a 
text or a voice on radio or TV After brief practice the stutterers 
learned to shadow-talk easily, and most of them were able to speak 
normally and correctly under these conditions, which obviated 
advance criticism and literally forced them to speak spontaneously or 
to synchronize speaking and “correcting.” Additional practice in 
shadow-talk enabled the stutterers to “learn” how to speak correctly at 
all times, proving to the self-image that the previously believed “truth” 
(“I’m a stutterer”) was incorrect. 

When excessive negative feedback or self-criticism was elimi- 
nated, inhibition disappeared and performance improved. When there 



208 Chapter Eleven 


was no time for worry, or too much carefulness in advance, expression 
immediately improved. This gives us a valuable clue as to how we may 
disinhibit or release a locked-up personality and improve performance 
in other areas. 


How the Dale Carnegie Program, Toastmasters 
International and Network Marketing or MLM 
Companies Provide Just the Right Balance of 
"Course Correction" Feedback 

Countless business leaders have graduated from the Dale Carnegie 
Program, notably Lee Iacocca, who in turn has encouraged thousands 
to enroll. Many top professional speakers, as well as countless sales 
professionals, executives, pastors, and community leaders, have gone 
from awkward, nervous, inhibited, stumbling speakers to confident 
and persuasive speakers through participation in Toastmasters. It is 
almost the norm in the world of network marketing for the inhibited 
person who believes and insists that she “can’t” sell and “can’t” speak 
in front of a group to flower and bloom and metamorphose into a 
dynamic, convincing salesperson, and to become such a “ham” on 
stage it’s hard to pry the microphone from her fingers! 

Why and how does this happen with such consistency and fre- 
quency in these environments? 

The individuals’ experiences in these environments provide what 
you might call gentle course-correction feedback, so that the individu- 
als have a safe, encouraging opportunity to test and challenge their 
limiting beliefs, to let their suppressed personality come out into the 
light little by little, to discover their true self, ultimately showing proof 
of greater abilities to their self-image, thus moving that little dotted 
line, of self-imposed limits and giving themselves more room for cre- 
ative self-expression. 

In these environments, individuals are more cajoled than forced 
into self-expression, then they are applauded and congratulated often 
for each small step forward, each small victory. Course-correction 
feedback is well balanced with recognition of positive aspects of per- 
formance. There’s never a band of jackals leaping at persons when they 
err, screaming “I told you so — you can’t do this!” To the contrary, even 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 209 


those who go on stage and stumble, forget their place, flush beet red 
will get 'applause and encouragement. In this safe environment, they 
can risk improvement rather than choose isolation. More often than 
not, they quickly discover that their “I can’t” beliefs are merely self- 
imposed limits, not actual limits. 

Such a discovery can have extraordinary results. 


A Sales Manager "Ccms" His Own Salesperson 

A manager of a direct sales force told me of his “conning” one of his 
own salespeople into improved performance, and while I cannot con- 
done the strategy, its result is fascinating and provocative. This partic- 
ular salesperson was in a severe slump, going on appointment after 
appointment after appointment, and returning night after night 
empty-handed. Her self-image was rapidly shrinking to the size of a 
tiny spud, and the manager realized he needed to employ some pow- 
erful, fast-acting medicine — or fire her. 

The next night he engineered two appointments back to back that 
were “rigged.” He sent her to friends’ homes. That afternoon, he 
rehearsed his friends and gave them the money to make their pur- 
chases, so the actual sales took place on which commissions would be 
paid. When she arrived at the first home, and began rather timidly 
going through her presentation, she discovered unusually receptive and 
responsive prospects. Their positive feedback helped her warm to the 
task, and by the end of her presentation she was humming along. She 
closed the sale and left with signed order and a $300 check in her 
attache case. At the second appointment, everything went as if scripted, 
and her prospects were performing perfectly. Another $300 check. 

Over the next four nights, from eight appointments, she chalked 
up six sales. By month’s end, she had batted over 70% for the entire 
month, earned her biggest month’s income ever (although a small bit 
of it came secretly from her sales manager’s wallet!), and even won a 
“getaway weekend” in the company’s sales contest. As he said, “a star 
was reborn.” 

We must find opportunities and environments where we can 
operate without fear or inhibition, to prove our competence to our 
self-images. Then we can trust our servo-mechanism to deliver peak 
performance even as we move into rougher seas. 



210 Chapter Eleven 


Excessive "Carefulness" Leads to 
Inhibition and Anxiety 

Have you ever tried to thread a needle? If so, and if you are inexperi- 
enced at it, you may have noticed that you could hold the thread 
steady as a rock until you approached the eye of the needle and 
attempted to insert it into the very small opening. Each time you tried 
to place the thread through the small opening, your hand unaccount- 
ably shook and the thread missed the mark. 

Attempting to pour a liquid into the mouth of a very small 
necked bottle often results in the same kind of behavior. You can hold 
your hand perfectly steady, until you try to accomplish your purpose; 
then for some strange reason you quiver and shake. 

In medical circles, we call this “purpose tremor.” 

It occurs in normal people when they try too hard or are “too 
careful” not to make an error in accomplishing a purpose. In certain 
pathological conditions, such as injury to certain areas of the brain, 
purpose tremor can become very pronounced. A patient, for example, 
may be able to hold his hand steady as long as he is not trying to 
accomplish anything. But let him try to insert a key into the door lock 
and his hand may zig-zag back and forth as much as six to ten inches. 
He may be able to hold a pen steady enough until he attempts to sign 
his name. Then his hand tremors uncontrollably. If he is ashamed of 
this, and becomes even more “careful” not to make an error in the 
presence of strangers, he may not be able to sign his name at all. 

These people can be helped, and often remarkably, by training in 
relaxation techniques where they learn to relax from excessive effort 
and “purposing” and not to be overly careful in trying to avoid errors 
or failures. 

Excessive carefulness, or being too anxious not to make an error, 
is a form of excessive negative feedback. As in the case of the stutterer, 
who attempts to anticipate possible errors and be overly careful not to 
make them, the result is inhibition and deterioration of performance. 
Excessive carefulness and anxiety are close kin. Both have to do with 
too much concern for possible failure, doing the wrong thing, and 
making too much of a conscious effort to do right. 

“I don’t like these cold, precise, perfect people, who, in order not 
to speak wrong, never speak at all, and in order not to do wrong, never 
do anything,” said Henry Ward Beecher. 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 21 1 


Apparently, the public prefers “authentic” to “forcibly inhibited” 
as well. One of the most popular presidents ever, dubbed The Great 
Communicator, Ronald Reagan, if unknown to a team of speech and 
presentation experts reviewing him on film, would be the subject of 
much criticism for his many performance flaws. His habit, for exam- 
ple, of starting sentence after sentence with “Well,” is a professional 
speaking no-no. The longest running television show, “The Tonight 
Show,” has been hosted by a sequence of people — Jack Parr, Johnny 
Carson, Jay Leno — who all violate many so-called rules of perform- 
ance and perhaps of even greater importance, are all undeterred by 
their flubs, the jokes that are dead on arrival. This show has no laugh 
track to support pretending something is working when it is not. I 
have noticed time and again, in public speaking, in entertainment and 
in politics, the person who is excessively careful, trying to match some 
“perfect” standard or ideal, rarely succeeds. 


Self-Consciousness Is Really Others' Consciousness 

The cause-and-effect relationship between excessive negative 
feedback and what we call self-consciousness can be readily seen. 

In any sort of social relationship we constantly receive negative 
feedback data from other people. A smile, a frown, a hundred differ- 
ent subtle clues of approval or disapproval, interest or lack of interest, 
continually advise us of “how we’re doing,” whether we’re getting 
across, whether we’re hitting or missing the mark, so to speak. In any 
sort of social situation there is a constant interaction going on between 
speaker and listener, actor and observer. And without this constant 
communication, back and forth, human relations and social activities 
would be virtually impossible. And if not impossible, it would certainly 
be dull, boring, noninspiring, and dead — without “sparks.” 

Good actors, actresses, and public speakers can sense this com- 
munication from the audience, and it helps them perform better. 
Persons with “good personalities,” who are popular and magnetic in 
social situations, can sense this communication from other people and 
they automatically and spontaneously react and respond to it in a cre- 
ative way. The communication from other people is used as negative 
feedback, and enables the person to perform better socially. Unless a 
person can respond to this communication from other people, she is a 



212 Chapter Eleven 


“cold fish” type, the “reserved” personality who does not warm up to 
other people. Without this communication you become a social dud, 
the hard-to-get-to-know type who interests no one. 

However, this type of negative feedback, to be effective, should 
be creative. That is, it should be more or less subconscious, automatic, 
and spontaneous, rather than consciously contrived or thought about. 


What Others Think Creates Inhibition 

When you become too consciously concerned about what others 
think, when you become too careful to consciously try to please other 
people, when you become too sensitive to the real or fancied disap- 
proval of other people, then you have excessive negative feedback, 
inhibition, and poor performance. 

Whenever you constantly and consciously monitor your every 
act, word, or manner, again you become inhibited and self-conscious. 

You become too careful to make a good impression, and in so 
doing choke off, restrain, inhibit your creative self and end up making 
a rather poor impression. 

The best way to make a good impression on other people is: Never 
consciously try to make a good impression on them. Never act, or fail 
to act, purely for consciously contrived effect. Never wonder con- 
sciously what the others are thinking of you, how they are judging you. 


How a Salesman Cured Self-Consciousness 

James Mangan-, the famous salesman, author, and lecturer, said that 
when he first left home he was painfully self-conscious, especially 
when eating in the dining room of a “ritzy” or high-class hotel. As he 
walked through the dining room he felt that every eye was on him, 
judging him, critical of him. He was painfully conscious of his every 
movement, motion and act, the way he walked, the way he sat down, 
his table manners, and the way he ate his food. And all these actions 
seemed stiff and awkward. He wondered why was he so ill at ease? He 
knew he had good table manners and knew enough social etiquette to 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 213 


get by. Why had he never felt self-conscious and ill at ease when eat- 
ing in the kitchen with Ma and Pa? 

He decided it was because when he was eating with Ma and Pa, 
he did not think or bother to wonder how he was acting. He was nei- 
ther careful nor self-critical. He was not concerned about producing 
an effect. He had felt composed, relaxed, and had done all right. 

James Mangan cured his self-consciousness by remembering how 
he had felt, and how he had acted, when he “was going to the kitchen 
to eat with Ma and Pa.” Then, when he walked into a ritzy dining 
room, he would imagine or pretend that he “was going to eat with Ma 
and Pa” — and act that way. 


Poise Comes When You Ignore Excessive 
Negative Feedback 

Mangan also found that he could overcome his stage fright and self- 
consciousness when calling on big shots or in any other social situa- 
tion by saying to himself, “I’m going to eat with Ma and Pa,” 
conjuring up in his imagination how he had felt and how he had acted, 
and then “acting that way.” In his book The Knack of Selling Yourself, 
Mangan advises salespeople to use the “I’m going home to eat supper 
with my Ma and Pa! I’ve been through this a thousand times — 
nothing new can happen here” technique. 

This attitude of being immune to strangers or strange situations, 
this total disregard for all the unknown or unexpected, has a name. It 
is called poise. Poise is the deliberate shunting aside of all fears arising 
from new and uncontrollable circumstances. 


You Need to Be More Self-Conscious 

The late Dr. Albert Edward Wiggam, famous educator, psychologist, 
and lecturer, said that in his early years he was so painfully self-con- 
scious he found it all but impossible to recite in school. He avoided 
other people and could not talk to them without hanging his head. He 
constantly fought his self-consciousness and tried hard to overcome it, 
all to no avail. Then one day he got a new idea. His trouble was not 



214 Chapter Eleven 


self-consciousness at all. It was really excessive others’ consciousness. 
He was too painfully sensitive to what others might think of every- 
thing he said or did, every move he made. This tied him up in knots; 
he could not think clearly, and he could think of nothing to say. He did 
not feel this way when alone with himself. When alone, he was per- 
fectly calm and relaxed, at ease, poised, and he could think of lots of 
interesting ideas and things to say. And he was also perfectly aware of 
apd at home with his self. 

Then he stopped fighting and trying to conquer his self-con- 
sciousness and instead concentrated on developing more self-con- 
sciousness: feeling, acting, behavior, thinking as he did when he was 
alone, without any regard to how some other person might feel about 
or judge him. This total disregard for the opinion and judgment of 
other people did not result in his becoming callous, arrogant, or 
entirely insensitive to others. There is no danger of entirely eradicat- 
ing negative feedback, no matter how hard you may try. But this effort 
in the opposite direction did tone down his overly sensitive feedback 
mechanism. He got along better with other people, and went on to 
make his living counseling people and making public speeches to large 
groups, “without the slightest degree of anxiety.” 

The most liberating of all thoughts is disregard or “disconcem” 
for what other people think. Famous mail-order impresario and entre- 
preneur J. Peterman wrote (in his autobiography Peterman Rides 
Again)-, “Once you realize that most people are keeping up appear- 
ances and putting on a show, their approval becomes less important.” 
Excessive concern over what other people think inhibits personality 
more than any other factor. 

Truth be told, we tend to believe other people think about us far 
more than they ever actually do. In the popular TV sitcom “Frasier,” 
about a psychologist, the main character (Dr. Frasier) is receiving a 
Lifetime Achievement Award, and receives a floral arrangement and a 
congratulatory note from his old college professor. The note reads 
“Congratulations. You must be very proud.” At first, Frasier is pleased 
to have received the congratulations from his old mentor. But then he 
begins to analyze it for its hidden meaning. Why didn’t it read, “I am 
very proud of you” instead of “You must be very proud”? Etc. Soon he 
is off to the professor’s office and confronts him, with a longwinded 
series of questions and interpretations of what the professor meant by 
his terse note. When Frasier finally runs out of steam and the profes- 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 215 


sor can get a word in edgewise, he sheepishly tells Frasier, “Actually, I 
just told my secretary to send flowers and a card. She wrote the note.” 
You do the same. So do I. One evening, on a drive home after a 
party at a friend’s home, I was mulling over an offhand remark some- 
one there had made to me, trying to discern its hidden meaning and 
asking my wife Anne, “Do you think he meant this? Or did he mean 
that? Why would he think that about me?” 

Anne finally said, “Maxie, he wasn’t thinking anything at all. He 
was drunk.” 

How many times have you obsessed over what somebody’s 
remark — or even their glance — meant, devoting hours to it? While 
you stew, the other person forgot the matter within seconds, and 
moved onto a myriad of other people, places, and things. 


An Athlete's Comeback Based on a 
Liberated Self-Image 

Her name is Jennifer Capriati, once a 14-year-old tennis phenom 
growing up in the spotlight of massive media attention, under the 
pressure of adult competition. In the first phase of her career, between 
1990 and 1993, she reached three Grand Slam semifinals and captured 
the 1992 Olympic gold medal at Barcelona. But then her career and 
confidence took such a dramatic downturn, she left the tour for two 
years, and seriously considered giving up tennis altogether. In 1994, 
she made news with a drug arrest and a shoplifting incident. 

Despite winning the Olympic gold medal in 1992, she traces her 
frustration and disillusionment to a year earlier, when she lost the 
Grand Slam semifinal to Monica Seles, in a close match she initially 
controlled. “I never played well after that, except for the Olympics.” 
After a two-year hiatus, Capriati returned, competing at top lev- 
els, this time proclaiming peace of mind instead of unbearable pres- 
sure. A journalist reporting on her return wrote (in USA Today), 
“There seem to be two key reasons for Capriati’s renaissance — con- 
cluding it didn’t matter what people believed about her and learning 
to stop believing bad things about herself.” 

In 2001, she beat Martini Hingis in the final of the Australian 
Open, winning her first ever Grand Slam tournament. 



216 Chapter Eleven 


You, too, can experience the same lifting of emotional weight 
from your shoulders that this young tennis star has, by rationally con- 
cluding that others’ opinions about you — real or magnified by imagi- 
nation — are far less important than your own opinions about yourself! 


What Makes You Think You Can Do That? 

On November 4, 1998, long-time professional politician “Skip” 
Humphrey (son of Hubert Humphrey), the Attorney General of 
Minnesota, and Norman Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, were shocked as 
their opponent Jesse “The Body” Ventura had whipped them in the 
election and now took claim to the governor’s mansion. The long- 
shot, third-party candidate, better known for his outrageous outfits 
and antics as a pro wresder than for more cerebral pursuits, cam- 
paigning with far fewer resources, took 37% of the vote — more than 
enough to win in a tightly contested three-candidate election. What 
on earth made Jesse Ventura imagine he could actually beat the two 
parties’ credible and experienced candidates? 

If you have ever been asked “What makes you think you can do 
that?” you might have taken some satisfaction in Jesse Ventura’s under- 
dog, upset victory. All too often this question is asked of us by people 
who should be in our corner, building us up. Often they ask it with sin- 
cere concern for our well-being, sometimes with more concern for 
themselves, but it doesn’t matter: The adverse effect is the same. 

I can remember everyone I knew but my mother repeatedly ask- 
ing me what made me think I could jump right into private practice 
and succeed? Wouldn’t I be better advised to seek a position on the 
bottom rung, in someone else’s practice or in a hospital? My mother, 
bless her soul, never raised such doubt and unwaveringly voiced her 
confidence that I could do anything I set my mind to do. Whether she 
had private, silent doubts or concerns I do not know, and am glad I did 
not know. 

You will be asked this question (What makes you think. . .) just 
about any and every time you attempt anything of significance. 
Fortunately, you can succeed no matter what others’ doubts may be, 
as long as you are not controlled by them. Your strong self-image that 
counsels you that you. can do anything you set your mind to is a most 
important ally. Many a person with a cheering section of one has con- 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 217 


founded critics, baffled skeptics, amazed even close friends and family 
members in achieving remarkable things. It is only when your cheer- 
ing section’s bleachers are devoid of the one true believer who matters 
most — yourself — that you are in truly dire straits. 


Your Opinion Matters Most of All 

In 1994, in his book Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, expert Dr. Nathaniel 
Branden defined self-esteem as “the reputation we acquire with our- 
selves.” 

Einstein had a reputation as a daydreamer and dullard in school; 
today he’d likely be diagnosed with ADD and given a drug. He had a 
reputation with his adult colleagues as being “dumb” at mathematics! 
It didn’t interfere with his success. 

What of the ex-convict attempting to go straight, secure a decent 
job, and build a constructive life? His reputation precedes him every- 
where he goes and will be a very real obstacle for some time, but it will 
still ultimately be his own opinion of himself that will matter most, 
that will determine whether or not he will persevere. Recidivism is 
unfortunately high, but fortunately not 100%. People do emerge from 
criminal pasts and incarceration to build worthy lives. Certainly you 
can liberate your self-image from any prison of your own making, 
built of bricks from the past, to live a more fulfilling life! 

Your reputation with others cannot jettison past mistakes, often 
gives unfair weight to mistakes while ignoring many other accom- 
plishments and attributes, and is even colored by the biases of the peo- 
ple making judgments. You cannot change that except through time 
and performance. But you certainly do not have to accept that same 
reputation. You know better. You have all the facts. And only you can 
know the current level of commitment to certain ideals. Determine for 
yourself what your reputation will be with yourself tomorrow and live 
up to it today, as the axiom goes “one day at a time.” 


"Conscience Doth Make Cowards of Us All" 

So said Shakespeare. And so say modern-day psychiatrists and enlight- 
ened ministers. 



218 Chapter Eleven 


Conscience itself is a learned negative feedback mechanism hav- 
ing to do with morals and ethics. If the learned and stored data is cor- 
rect (concerning what is “right” and what is “wrong”) and if the 
feedback mechanism is not overly sensitive but realistic, the result (just 
as with any other goal-striving situation) is that we are relieved from 
the burden of having to “decide” constantly as to what is right and 
wrong. Conscience steers us, or guides us, down the “straight and nar- 
row” to the goal of correct, appropriate, and realistic behavior insofar 
as ethics and morals are concerned. Conscience works automatically 
and subconsciously, as does any other feedback system. 

However, as Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick says, “Your conscience 
can fool you.” Your conscience itself can be wrong. It depends on your 
own basic beliefs concerning right and wrong. If your basic beliefs are 
true, realistic, and sensible, conscience becomes a valuable ally in deal- 
ing with the real world and in sailing on the ethical sea. It acts as a 
compass that keeps you out of trouble, as a mariner’s compass keeps 
the ship off the reefs. But if your basic beliefs are themselves wrong, 
untrue, unrealistic, or irrational, these declinate your compass and 
pushes it off true north, just as magnetic bits of metal can disturb the 
compass of the mariner, and guide the ship into trouble rather than 
away from it. 

Conscience can mean many things to many people. If you are 
brought up to believe, as some people are, that it is sinful to wear but- 
tons on your clothes, your conscience will bother you when you do. If 
you are brought up to believe that cutting off another human’s head, 
shrinking it, and hanging it on your wall is right, proper, and a sign of 
manhood, then you will feel guilty, unworthy, and undeserving if you 
haven’t managed to shrink a head. (Head-shrinking savages would no 
doubt call this a sin of omission.) 

Conscience's Job Is to Make You Happy, 

Not Miserable 

The purpose of conscience is to help make us happy and productive, 
not the other way around. But if we are to let our conscience be our 
guide, our conscience must be based on truth. It must point to true 
north. Otherwise, blindly obeying conscience can only get us into 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 2 1 9 


trouble, rather than out of it, and make us unhappy and unproductive ' 
in the bargain. 


Self-Expression Is Not a Moral Issue 

Much mischief results from our taking a “moral” position on 
matters that are not basically moral matters at all. 

For example, self-expression, or the lack of it, is not basically an 
ethical question, aside from the fact that it is our duty to use the tal- 
ents our Creator gave us. 

Yet self-expression may become morally wrong as far as your 
conscience is concerned, if you were squelched, shut up, shamed, 
humiliated, or perhaps punished as a child for speaking up, expressing 
your ideas, “showing off.” Such a child learns that it is wrong to 
express herself, to hold herself out as having any worthwhile ideas, or 
perhaps to speak at all. 

If a child is punished for showing anger, or shamed too much for 
showing fear, or perhaps made fun of for showing love, she learns that 
expressing her real feelings is wrong. Some children learn that it is sin- 
ful or wrong only to express the “bad emotions” — anger and fear. But, 
when you inhibit bad emotions, you also inhibit the expression of 
good emotions. And the yardstick for judging emotions is not “good- 
ness” or “badness,” as such, but appropriateness and inappropriate- 
ness. It is appropriate for the man who meets the bear on the trail to 
experience fear. It is appropriate to experience anger if there is a legit- 
imate need to destroy an obstacle by sheer force and destructiveness. 
Properly directed and controlled, anger is an important element of 
courage. 

If every time a child comes up with an opinion, she is squelched 
and put in her place, she learns that it is “right” for her to be a nobody 
and wrong to want to be a somebody. 

Such a distorted and unrealistic conscience does indeed make 
cowards of us all. We can become overly sensitive and too carefully 
concerned with whether we have a right to succeed in even a worth- 
while endeavor. We become too carefully concerned about whether or 
not “I deserve this.” Many people, inhibited by the wrong kind of con- 
science, hold back or take a back seat in any kind of endeavor, even in 



220 Chapter Eleven 

church activities. They secretly feel it would not be right for them to 
hold themselves out as a leader or presume to be somebody, or they 
are overly concerned with whether other people might think they 
were showing off. 

Stage fright is a common phenomenon. It becomes understand- 
able when seen as excessive negative feedback coming from a “decli- 
nated conscience.” Stage fright is the fear that we will be punished for 
speaking up, expressing our own opinion, presuming to be somebody, 
or showing off — things that most of us learned were “wrong” and pun- 
ishable as children. Stage fright illustrates how universal is the sup- 
pression and inhibition of self-expression. 


Disinhibition— 

A Long Step in the Opposite Direction 

If you are among the millions who suffer unhappiness and failure 
because of inhibition, you need to deliberately practice disinhibition. 
You need to practice being less careful, less concerned, less conscien- 
tious. You need to practice speaking before you think instead of think- 
ing before you speak, acting without thinking, instead of thinking or 
considering carefully before you act. 

Commonly, when I advise a patient to practice disinhibition (and 
the most inhibited object the most), I am likely to hear something like 
this: “But surely you do not think that we need to exercise no care at 
all, no concern, no worry about results. It seems to me that the world 
needs a certain amount of inhibition, otherwise we would live like sav- 
ages and civilized society would collapse. If we express ourselves with- 
out any restraint, freely expressing our feelings, we would go around 
punching people in the nose who disagreed with us.” 

“Yes,” I say, “you are correct. The world does need a certain 
amount of inhibition. But not you. The key words are ‘a certain 
amount.’ You have such an excessive amount of inhibition, you are like 
a patient running a temperature of 108 degrees, who says, ‘But surely 
body heat is necessary for health. Man is a warm-blooded animal and 
could not live without a certain amount of temperature. We all need 
temperature, yet you are telling me that I should concentrate com- 
pletely and entirely on reducing my temperature, and ignore completely 
the danger of not having any temperature.’” 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 221 


The stutterer, who is already so tied up with moral tensions, 
excessive negative feedback, self-critical analysis, and inhibition that 
he cannot talk at all, is prone to argue in the same way, when told to 
totally ignore negative feedback and self-criticism. He can cite you 
numerous proverbs, apothegms, and the like to prove that one should 
think before he speaks, that an idle and careless tongue gets you into 
trouble, and that one should be very careful of what he says and how 
he says it because “good speech is important” and “a word spoken can- 
not be recalled.” All that he is saying in effect is that negative feedback 
is a useful and beneficial thing. But not for him. When he totally 
ignores negative feedback by either being deafened by a loud tone, or 
by shadow talk, he speaks correctly. 


The Straight and Narrow Path Between 
Inhibition and Disinhibition 

Someone has said that the inhibited, worry-warty, anxiously con- 
cerned personality “stutters all over.” 

Balance and harmony are what is needed. When the temperature 
has gone too high , the doctor attempts to lower it; when it has sunk too 
low, he attempts to raise it. When a person cannot sleep enough, a 
prescription is given to make the patient sleep more; when a person 
sleeps too much, a stimulant is prescribed to keep him awake, etc. It is 
not a question of which is best — a hot or cold temperature, or sleep- 
fulness or wakefulness. The cure lies in taking a long step in the oppo- 
site direction. Here, the principle of cybernetics enters into the 
picture again. Our goal is an adequate, self-fulfilling, creative person- 
ality. The path to the goal is a course between too much inhibition and 
too little. When there is too much, we correct course by ignoring inhi- 
bition and practicing more disinhibition. 


How to Tell Whether You Need Disinhibition 

Here are the “feedback” signals which can tell you whether you are off 
course because of too much or too little inhibition: 

If you continually get yourself into trouble because of overconfi- 
dence, if you habitually “rush in where angels fear to tread,” if you 



222 Chapter Eleven 


habitually find yourself in hot water because of impulsive, ill-consid- 
ered actions, if projects backfire on you because you always act first 
and ask questions later, if you can never adrpit you’re wrong, if you are 
a loud talker and a blabbermouth, then you probably have too little 
inhibition. You need to think more of the consequences before acting. 
You need to stop acting like a bull in a china shop and plan your activ- 
ities more carefully. 

However, the great majority of people do not fall in this category. 
If you are shy around strangers; if you dread new and strange situa- 
tions, if you feel inadequate, worry a lot, are anxious, overly con- 
cerned, if you are nervous and feel self-conscious, if you have any 
nervous symptoms such as facial tics, blinking your eyes unnecessarily, 
tremor, or difficulty in going to sleep, if you feel ill at ease in social sit- 
uations, if you hold yourself back and continually take a back seat, then 
these are all symptoms showing that you have too much inhibition. 
You are too careful in everything, you plan too much. You need to 
practice St. Paul’s advice to the Ephesians: “Be careful in nothing ...” 


Mental Training Exercises 

1. Don’t wonder in advance what you are going to say. Just open your 
mouth and say it. Improvise as you go along. (Jesus advises us to give no 
thought as to what we would say if delivered up to councils, but that the 
spirit would advise us what to say at the time.) 

2. Don’t plan (take no thought for tomorrow). Don’t think before you act. 
Act and correct your actions as you go along. This advice may seem rad- 
ical, yet it is actually the way all servo-mechanisms must work. A torpedo 
does not “drink out” all its errors in advance, and attempt to correct 
them in advance. It must act first — start moving toward the goal — then 
correct any errors that may occur. 

3. Stop criticizing yourself. The inhibited person indulges in self-critical 
analysis continually. After each action, however simple, she says to her- 
self, “I wonder if I should have done that.” After she has gotten up 
courage enough to say something, she immediately says to herself, 
“Maybe I shouldn’t have said that. Maybe the other person will take it 
the wrong way.” Stop tearing yourself apart. Useful and beneficial feed- 
back works subconsciously, spontaneously, and automatically. Conscious 



How to Unlock Your Real Personality 223 


self-criticism, self-analysis, and introspection is good and useful if 
undertaken perhaps once a year. But the continual, moment-by- 
moment, day-by-day, sort of second-guessing yourself- — or playing 
Monday-morning quarterback to your past actions — is defeating. Watch 
for this self-criticism; pull yourself up short and stop it. 

4. Make a habit of speaking louder than usual. Inhibited people are noto- 
riously soft-spoken. Raise the volume of your voice. You don’t have to 
shout at people and use an angry tone; just consciously practice speak- 
ing louder than usual. Loud talk in itself is a powerful disinhibitor. 
Experiments have shown that you can exert up to 15% more strength 
and lift more weight, if you shout, grunt, or groan loudly as you make 
the lift. The explanation of this is that loud shouting disinhibits and 
allows you to exert all your strength, including what has been blocked 
off and tied up by inhibition. 

5. Let people know when you like them. The inhibited personality is as 
afraid of expressing “good” feelings as “bad” ones. If he expresses love, 
he is afraid it will be judged sentimentality; if he expresses friendship, he 
is afraid it will be considered fawning or apple polishing. If he compli- 
ments someone, he is afraid the other will think him superficial or sus- 
pect an ulterior motive. 

Totally ignore all these negative feedback signals. Compliment at least 
three people every day. If you like what people are doing, or wearing, or 
saying, let them know it. Be direct. “1 like that, Joe.” “Mary, that is a very 
pretty hat.” “Jim, that proves to me you are a smart person.” And if you’re 
married, just say to your spouse, “I love you” at least twice a day. 


CHAPTER TWELVE 


Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers 
that Bring Peace of Mind 

Worry affects the circulation , the heart , the glands , the whole 
nervous system , and profoundly affects health. 

— Charles W. Mayo 


nr 

m ranquilizer drugs, which have become so popular, 
bring peace of mind, and calmness; they reduce 
or eliminate nervous symptoms by an “umbrella action.” Just as an 
umbrella protects us from the rain, the various tranquilizers erect a 
psychic screen between us and disturbing stimuli. Tranquilizers work 
because they greatly reduce, or eliminate, our own response to disturb- 
ing outside stimuli. But tranquilizers do not change the environment. 
The disturbing stimuli are still there. We are still able to recognize them 
intellectually, but we do not respond to them emotionally. 

In chapter 7 on happiness, we said that our own feelings do not 
depend on externals, but on our own attitudes, reactions, and 
responses. Tranquilizers offer convincing evidence of this fact. In sub- 
stance they reduce or tone down our overresponse to negative feed- 
back. 

I might add that today’s medical community seems far too quick 
and liberal in resorting to drugs for every imaginable psychological 
malady, from children’s attention deficit disorder to adult anxiety. The 
newest business of M.D. diagnosis and drug prescription via the 
Internet is most disturbing. 

For the person who suffers from severe anxiety or compulsive 
behavior, Dr. Lucinda Bassett at the Midwest Anxiety Center has 


224 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 225 

done some remarkable work perfectly in keeping with the principles 
of Psycho-Cybernetics. I recommend her self-help materials and serv- 
ices, including, as a starting point, her book From Panic to Power. The 
author suffered from acute anxiety disorders beginning in childhood 
and in 1981 was a full-blown agoraphobic. Using her own healing 
process, as a framework, supplemented with thousands of case histo- 
ries, she developed a program, expressed in her book, that helps even 
those with severe anxieties reclaim their true personalities. 

For a great many people — probably you too — neither drugs nor 
advanced anxiety treatment measures are needed; the do-it-yourself, 
Psycho-Cybernetic tranquilizers you already possess are more than 
sufficient, once you learn to use them. 


Overresponse Is a Bad Habit That Can Be Cured 

Let us suppose that as you read this, you are sitting quietly in your 
den. Suddenly, the telephone rings. From habit and experience, this is 
a signal or stimulus that you have learned to obey. Without taking 
thought, without making a conscious decision about the matter, you 
respond to it. You jump up from your Comfortable seat and hurry to 
the telephone. The outside stimulus has had the effect of “moving” 
you. It has changed your mental set and your position or self-deter- 
mined course of action. You were all set to spend the hour, sitting qui- 
etly and relaxed, reading. You were inwardly organized for this. Now, 
all this is suddenly changed by your response to the external stimulus 
in the environment. 

The point I wish to make is this. You do not have to answer the 
telephone. You do not have to obey. You can choose to totally ignore the 
telephone. You can, if you choose, continue sitting quietly and relaxed, 
maintaining your own original state of organization, by refusing to 
respond to the signal. 

Get this mental picture clearly in your mind, for it can be quite 
helpful in overcoming the power of external stimuli to disturb you. 
See yourself sitting quietly, letting the phone ring, ignoring its signal, 
unmoved by its command. Although you are aware of it, you no longer 
mind or obey it. Also, get clearly in your mind the fact that the out- 
side signal in itself has no power over you, no power to move you. . In 



226 Chapter Twelve 


the past you have obeyed it, responded to it, purely out of habit. You 
can, if you wish, form a new habit of not responding. 

Also notice that your failure to respond does not consist in doing 
something, or making an effort, or resisting or fighting, but in doing 
nothing — in relaxation from doing. You merely relax, ignore the sig- 
nal, and let its summons go unheeded. 

The telephone ringing is a symbolic analogy to any and every 
other outside stimulus you might habitually give control over to and 
now choose to very intentionally alter that habit. So-called road rage 
is nothing more than the giving up control of your own emotional 
state to an outside stimulus. 

Stress brought on by having too much to do — i.e., trying to do too 
many things at once — is giving up control to the fax machine, the cell 
phone, the e-mail messages, the person hovering in your office doorway. 


How to Condition Yourself for Equanimity 

In much the same way that you automatically obey or respond to the 
ring of the telephone, we all become conditioned to respond in a cer- 
tain way to various stimuli in our environment. 

The word “conditioning” in psychological circles grew out of 
Pavlov’s well-known experiments where he “conditioned” a dog to 
salivate at the sound of a bell, by ringing it just before presenting food 
to the dog. This procedure was repeated many times. First, the sound 
of the bell. A few seconds later, the appearance of food. The dog 
“learned” to respond to the sound of the bell by salivating in anticipa- 
tion of the food. Originally, the response made sense. The bell signi- 
fied that food was forthcoming, and the dog got ready by salivating. 
However, after the process was repeated a number of times, the dog 
would continue to salivate whenever the bell was rung, whether or not 
food was immediately forthcoming. The dog had now become “con- 
ditioned” to salivate at the mere sound of the bell. Its response made 
no sense and served no good purpose, but it continued to respond in 
the same way out of habit. 

There are a great many “bells,” or disturbing stimuli, in our vari- 
ous environmental. situations, to which we have become conditioned to 
and to which we continue to respond out of habit, whether or not the 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 227 


response makes any sense. But, my friend, you are not a poor, dumb 
animal who must go through life so unwittingly and easily manipulated 
and controlled. You are a human being with creative powers, with the 
power of rational thinking, with the ability to stand up on your hind 
legs and assert yourself. You must decide to be “worked like a dog” or 
to be your own person, to be controlled or to be in control. This is a 
decision with far-reaching consequences. It is the answer to the ques- 
tion, how can I get respect in a disrespectful world? 

Many people learn to fear strangers, for example, because of 
parental admonitions to have nothing to do with strange people. “Do 
not accept candy from a stranger.” “Do not get into a car with a 
stranger,” and sp on. The response of avoiding strangers serves a good 
purpose in small children. But many people continue to feel ill at ease 
and uncomfortable in the presence of all strangers, even when they 
know that they come as friends instead of foes. Strangers become 
“bells” and the learned response becomes fear, avoidance, or the desire 
to run away. 

In counseling sales professionals who are “frozen” and avoiding 
the task of “prospecting” by every imaginable excuse and contrivance, 
I frequendy uncovered this bit of programming grooved into their 
! servo-mechanism. In counseling men and women who are unable to 
make new friends or meet and initiate relationships with members of 
the opposite sex, I often uncovered this same bit of programming. 

Still another person may respond to crowds, closed spaces, open 
spaces, persons in authority such as “the boss,” by feelings of fear and 
anxiety. In each case the crowd, the closed space, the open space, the 
boss, or whatever acts as a bell that says, “Danger is present, run away, 
feel afraid.” And out of habit, we continue to respond in the accus- 
tomed way. We obey the bell. It is time to disconnect these bells. 


How to Extinguish Conditioned Responses 

We can extinguish the conditioned response if we make a prac- 
tice of relaxing instead of responding. We can, if we wish, just as in the 
case of the telephone, learn to ignore the bell and continue to sit qui- 
etly and let it ring. A key thought that we can carry with us to use 
whenever we are confronted by any disturbing stimulus is to say to 



228 Chapter Twelve 


ourselves, “The telephone is ringing, but I do not have to answer it. I 
can just let it ring.” This thought will key in to your mental picture of 
yourself sitting quietly, relaxed, unresponsive, doing nothing, letting 
the telephone ring unheeded. It will act as a trigger or clue to call up 
the same attitude that you had when letting the telephone ring. 


It You Cannot Ignore the Response, Delay It 

In the process of extinguishing a conditioning, a person may find it dif- 
ficult, especially at first, to totally ignore a bell, especially if it is rung 
unexpectedly. In such instances you can accomplish the same final 
result — extinction of the conditioning — by delaying your response. 

A woman, whom we will call Mary S., became anxious and ill at 
ease in the presence of crowds. She was able, by practicing the fore- 
going technique, to immunize or tranquilize herself against the dis- 
turbing stimuli on most occasions. However, occasionally, the desire 
to run away, to flee, became almost overpowering. 

“Remember Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind}" I asked her. 
“Her philosophy was, ‘I won’t worry about that now. I’ll worry about 
it tomorrow.’” She was able to maintain her inner equilibrium and 
effectively cope with her environment in spite of war, fire, pestilence, 
and unrequited love by delaying the response. 

Delaying the response breaks up and interferes with the auto- 
matic workings of conditioning. 

“Counting to ten” when you are tempted to become angry is 
based on the same principle and is very good advice, if you count 
slowly and in fact actually delay the response, rather than merely hold- 
ing in your angry shouting or desk pounding. The response in anger 
consists of more than shouting or desk beating. The tension in your 
muscles is a response. You cannot feel the emotion of anger or fear if 
your muscles remain perfecdy relaxed. Therefore, if you can delay 
feeling angry for ten seconds, delay responding at all, you can extin- 
guish the automatic reflex. 

Mary S. extinguished her conditioned fear of crowds by delaying 
her response. When she felt that she simply had to run away, she would 
say to herself, “Very well, but not this very minute. I will delay leaving 
the room for two minutes. I can refuse to obey for only two minutes!” 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 229 

Relaxation Erects a Psychic Screen, or Tranquilizer 

It is well to get clearly in your mind the fact that our disturbed feel- 
ings — our anger, hostility, fear, anxiety, insecurity — are caused by our 
own responses, not by externals. Response means tension. Lack of 
response means relaxation. It has been proved in scientific laboratory 
experiments that you absolutely cannot feel angry, fearful, anxious, 
insecure, unsafe as long as your muscles remain perfectly relaxed. All 
these things are, in essence, our own feelings. Tension in muscles is a 
preparation for action or a getting ready to respond. Relaxing muscles 
brings about mental relaxation or a peaceful relaxed attitude. Thus, 
relaxation is nature’s own tranquilizer, which erects a psychic screen or 
umbrella between you and the disturbing stimulus. 

Physical relaxation is a powerful disinhibitor for the same reason. 
In the last chapter we learned that inhibition results from excessive 
negative feedback, or rather from our overresponse to negative feed- 
back. Relaxation means no response. Therefore, in your daily practice 
of relaxation, you are learning disinhibition as well as providing your- 
self with nature’s own do-it-yourself tranquilizer, which you can take 
with you into your daily activities. Protect yourself from disturbing 
stimuli by maintaining the relaxed attitude. 

Early in his speaking career, the editor of this book would go 
through a series of rituals to “get up” for the pending performance, 
including pacing around, without realizing it, adding considerable 
physical tension to his body. Later in his career, he could often be 
observed stretched out casually in a chair, even lying on a couch in a 
room immediately prior to his time on stage, looking to the observer 
to be completely disinterested in the upcoming task. While he still 
went through certain mental rituals to ready himself for the perform- 
ance, he did so in a physically relaxed manner. You too can learn to be 
motivated, to be energized, to be ready for peak performance without 
being tense and anxious. 

Learn to Use Pre-Performance Rituals 
to Your Advantage 

In several different articles in various issues of Golf Magazine, Dr. 
Richard Coop, author of the book Mind Over Golf has advised players 



230 Chapter Twelve 


to briefly step back from a shot if they feel negative thoughts boiling 
up, and to use some physical ritual to regain calm control and reset 
their concentration. It may be adjusting their glove or tapping their 
club on the ground. He also teaches developing your own personal 
preshot routine, as the best way to keep stray thoughts from invading 
your mind in the middle of your swing. “Bottom-line,” Dr. Coop 
writes, “good players have a consistent routine and poor players don’t.” 

We have a saying in Psycho-Cybernetics training: “Calm mind, ' 
calm body; calm body, calm mind.” It doesn’t matter which end of the 
thread you start with, physical or mental relaxation, the result is the same. 

The trick is to develop a “preshot routine” for whatever you do 
that calms and relaxes, not heightens anxiety. 


Build Yourself a Quiet Room in Your Mind 

“Men seek retreats for themselves: houses in the country, sea-shores 
and mountains; and thou too art wont to desire such things very 
much,” said Marcus Aurelius, “But this is altogether a mark of the 
most common sort of men, for it is in thy power whenever thou shalt 
choose to retire into thyself. For nowhere, either with more quiet or 
more freedom from trouble, does a man retire than into his own soul, 
particularly when he has within him such thoughts that by looking 
into them he is immediately in perfect tranquillity; and I affirm that 
tranquillity is nothing else than the good ordering of the mind. 
Constantly then give to thyself this retreat, and renew thyself...” 
{Meditations of Marcus Aurelius , translated by George Long, Mount 
Vernon, N.Y., Peter Pauper Press) 

During the last days of World War II someone commented to 
President Harry Truman that he appeared to bear up under the stress 
and strain of the presidency better than any previous president, that 
the job did not appear to have “aged” him or sapped his vitality, and 
that this was rather remarkable, especially in view of the many prob- 
lems that confronted him as a wartime president. His answer was, “I 
have a foxhole in my mind.” He went on to say that just as a soldier 
retreated into his foxhole for protection, rest, and recuperation, he 
periodically retired into his own mental foxhole, where he allowed 
nothing to bother him. 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 231 


I cannot urge you strongly enough to invest time and utilize your 
imagination to build your own “foxhole in your mind.” 


Your Own Decompression Chamber 

Some people attempt to obtain this benefit by physical relocation. I 
know one corporate CEO here in New York who has the habit of sud- 
denly disappearing from the office and going to the Bronx Zoo. He 
leaves behind his cell phone. He is not anywhere someone can come 
and disturb him. He is lost in the crowds, walldng about the zoo, 
intentionally distracted and inaccessible. This strategy apparently 
works well for him, as he has risen up the corporate ranks, and become 
a multimillionaire thanks to his stock options and success at growing 
companies’ profits. However, doesn’t it seem a bit inconvenient to 
have to depart the office and take a cab across the city to walk around 
the zoo in order to decompress? 

It is a much shorter, convenient commute to a readily accessible 
decompression chamber, constructed within your own imagination. 
The harried mother, besieged all day by two young children — if one is 
quiet for a moment, the other is not! — needs only a brief opportunity, 
possibly their nap time, to step into the decompression chamber she 
has built in her imagination for recovery. The stressed-out salesperson 
can stop the car in a parking lot between appointments for a quick visit 
to his or her decompression chamber. 

Each of us needs a quiet room inside the mind, a quiet center 
within, like the deep of the ocean that is never disturbed, no matter 
how rough the surface waves may become. 

This quiet room within, which is built in imagination, works as a 
mental and emotional decompression chamber. It depressurizes you 
from tensions, worry, pressures, stresses, and strains, refreshes you and 
enables you to return to your work-a-day world better prepared to 
cope with it. 

It is my belief that each personality already has a quiet center 
within, which is never disturbed and is unmoved, like the mathemati- 
cal point in the very center of a wheel or axle that remains stationary. 
What we need to do is to find this quiet center within us and retreat 
into it periodically for rest, recuperation, and renewed vigor. 



232 Chapter Twelve 


One of the most beneficial prescriptions that I have ever given 
patients is the advice to learn to return to this quiet tranquil center. 
And one of the best ways that I have found for entering this quiet cen- 
ter is to build for yourself, in imagination, a little mental room. 
Furnish this room with whatever is most restful and refreshing to you: 
perhaps beautiful landscapes, if you like paintings; a volume of your 
favorite verse, if you like poetry. The colors of the walls are your own 
favorite “pleasant” colors, but should be chosen from the restful hues 
of blue, light green, yellow, gold. The room is plainly and simply fur- 
nished; there are no distracting elements. It is very neat and every- 
thing is in order. Simplicity, quietness, beauty are the keynotes. It 
contains your favorite easy chair. From one small window you can 
look out and see a beautiful beach. The waves roll in on the beach and 
retreat, but you cannot hear them, for your room is very, very quiet. 

Take as much care in building this room in your imagination as 
you would in building an actual room. Be thoroughly familiar with 
every detail. Do not permit the thought that this is childish stop you 
in your tracks. The power of this technique lies in its careful and thor- 
ough construction, its vivid detail, its “realness” as a place of retreat 
rather than just a vague idea. 


A Little Vacation Every Day 

Whenever you have a few spare moments during the day between 
appointments, perhaps riding the bus, retire into your quiet room. 
Whenever you begin to feel tension mounting or feel hurried or har- 
ried, retire into your quiet room for a few moments. Just a very few 
minutes taken from a very busy day in this manner will more than pay 
for themselves. It is not time wasted, but time invested. Say to your- 
self, “I am going to rest a bit in my quiet room.” 

Then, in imagination, see yourself climbing the stairs to your 
room. Say to yourself, “I am now climbing the stairs. Now I am open- 
ing the door. Now I am inside.” In imagination notice all the quiet, 
restful details. See yourself sitting down in your favorite chair, utterly 
relaxed and at peace with the world. Your room is secure. Nothing can 
touch you here. There is nothing to worry about. You left your wor- 
ries at the foot of the stairs. There are no decisions to be made here — 
no hurry, no bother. 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 233 

You Need a Certain Amount of Escapism 

Yes, this is escapism. Sleep is “escapism” too. Carrying an umbrella in 
the rain is escapism. Building yourself an actual house where you can 
retreat from the weather and the elements is escapism. And taking a 
vacation is escapism. Our nervous system needs a certain amount of 
escapism. It needs some freedom and protection from the continual 
bombardment of external stimuli. Your soul and your nervous system 
need a room for rest, recuperation, and protection every bit as much 
as your physical body needs a physical house, and for the same reasons. 
Your mental quiet room gives your nervous system a little vacation 
every day. For the moment, you mentally “vacate” your work-a-day 
world of duties, responsibilities, decisions, pressures, and “get away 
from it all” by mentally retiring into your no-pressure chamber. 

Pictures are more impressive to your automatic mechanism than 
words. Particularly so, if the picture happens to have a strong sym- 
bolic meaning. One mental picture that I have found very effective is 
the following: 

On a visit to Yellowstone National Park, I was waiting patiently 
for the geyser “Old Faithful,” which goes off approximately every 
hour. Suddenly the geyser erupted in a great mass of hissing steam, 
like a gigantic boiler whose safety plug had blown out. A small boy 
standing near me, asked his father, “What makes it do that?” 

“Well,” said his father, “I guess old Mother Earth is like the rest 
of us. She builds up a certain amount of pressure, and every once in a 
while just has to blow off steam to stay healthy.” Wouldn’t it be won- 
derful, I thought to myself, if we humans could blow off steam harm- 
lessly like that when emotional pressures build up inside us? 

I didn’t have a geyser or a steam valve in the top of my bead, but 
I did have an imagination. So I began to use this mental picture when 
I would retire into my mental quiet room. I would remember Old 
Faithful, and form a mental picture of emotional steam and pressure 
coming out the top of my head and evaporating harmlessly. Try this 
mental picture on yourself when you’re wrought up or tense. The 
ideas of blowing off steam and blowing your top have powerful asso- 
ciations built into your mental machinery. 

Incidentally, many psychologists and performance coaches now 
talk about these same ideas and techniques in the context of recovery. 



234 Chapter Twelve 


In The New Psycho-Cybernetics audio program, you will find this 
discussion continued under that topic. 


"Clear" Your Mechanism Before 
Undertaking a New Problem 

If you are using an adding machine or an electronic computer, you 
must clear the machine of previous problems before undertaking a 
new one. Otherwise, parts of the old problem or the old situation 
carry over into the new one — and give you a wrong answer. 

This exercise of retiring for a few moments into your quiet room 
in your mind can accomplish the same sort of clearing of your success 
mechanism. For that reason, it is very helpful to practice it between 
tasks, situations, or environments that require different moods, men- 
tal adjustments, or mental sets. 

A common example of carry-over, or failure to clear your mental 
machinery, is the following: A business executive carries his work-a- 
day worries and his work-a-day mood home with him. All day he has 
been harried, hurried, aggressive, and “set to go.” Perhaps he has felt 
a bit of frustration, which tends to make him irritable. He stops work- 
ing physically when he goes home. But he carries with him a residue 
of his aggressiveness, frustration, hurry, and worry. He is still set to go 
and cannot relax. He is irritable with his wife and family. He keeps 
thinking about problems at the office, although there is nothing he 
can do about them. 


Insomnia, Rudeness Are Often 
Emotional Carry-Overs 

Many people carry their troubles to bed with them when they should 
be resting. Mentally and emotionally, they are still trying to do some- 
thing about a situation, at a time when doing something is not in order. 

All during the day we need many different types of emotional and 
mental organizations. You need a different mood and mental organi- 
zation for talking with your boss and talking with a customer. And if 
you have just talked with an irate and irritable customer, you need a 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 235 

change in mind set before talking with a second customer. Otherwise 
emotional carry-over from the one situation will be inappropriate in 
dealing with the other. 


Emotional Carry-Over Causes Accidents 

Insurance companies and other agencies that do research on the cause 
of accidents have found that emotional carry-over causes many auto- 
mobile accidents. If the driver has just had a spat with her spouse or 
boss, if she has just experienced frustration, or if she has just left a sit- 
uation that called for aggressive behavior, she is much more likely to 
have an accident. She carries over inappropriate attitudes and emotions 
into her driving. She is really not angry at the other drivers. She is 
somewhat like someone who wakes up in the morning from a dream in 
which she experienced extreme anger. She realizes that the injustice 
heaped on her happened only in a dream. But she is still angry — period! 

Fear can carry over in the same manner. 


Carry-Over Is the Opposite of Concentration 

The popular television detective Lt. Columbo, played brilliandy by 
actor Peter Falk, once said, “Sometimes pay thoughts — it gets like a 
traffic jam up here.” 

Successful performers in all fields know that they cannot function 
well with a traffic jam going on in their head! In fact, peak performers 
virtually worship at the altar of “focus” and “concentration,” working 
tirelessly to achieve it, for very good reason: concentration is a major 
key to minute-by-minute success in any endeavor. John Lyons, one of 
the world’s most celebrated trainers of horses and riders, as well as edi- 
tor of The Perfect Horse newsletter, states, “The hardest thing about 
training horses isn’t knowing what to do or having enough strength or 
courage to do it. It is learning to stay focused.” The same statement 
may be made about golf or selling or parenting or you-name-it; the 
hardest thing is not the mechanics, it’s staying focused. Mr. Lyons 
went on to say, “If I don’t zero in on one thing at a time, I can’t help 
my horse.” If you don’t zero in on one thing at a time, you cannot help 
yourself, help a team, or succeed! 

i 



236 Chapter Twelve 


Create Your Own Quick Distractions Eraser 
and Use It as Often as Needed 

The visualization I taught for many years, which I called “clearing the 
calculator,” depicted clearing or storage for later work one mathemat- 
ical problem on the calculator’s little screen before you could attempt 
work on another. Hitting the “clear” button takes problem 1 com- 
pletely off your “screen.” You must do so before addressing problem 
2. Many people develop other illustrations and visualizations more 
useful to them. I’ve received many letters in which people describe 
visualizing using an eraser and wiping a chalkboard clean, a sponge to 
wipe a window clean, even stepping into the shower and rinsing clean. 
You can call up this mental picture and use it as an eraser in as short a 
time as a few seconds, such as those five seconds of imposed hesitation 
before answering the phone. 

Olympic champion high-diver Greg Louganis reportedly men- 
tally rehearsed each dive 40 times immediately prior to the dive! In 
reality, what he was doing was: 


1. Stopping to “clear the calculator.” 

2. Pushing all distractions aside by, in quick succession, 
replaying a mini-mental movie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7... 3 8, 
39, 40 times so that there was nothing left on his 
screen but the successful mental picture. 

3. Letting his servo-mechanism deliver the 41st as 
actual experience. 


Most people never adopt this simple but profoundly effective 
approach. Instead, they enter into a challenging activity — say, an 
important meeting at the office — with “traffic jam” (complete with 
horns blaring, people shouting) going on in their thoughts. They 
attempt to function without focus! With a’ whole pot of thought- and- 
emotional stew boiling over — worries about this or that, a disagree- 
able conversation with spouse or friend, distraction by things that 
need to be addressed an hour or two down the road — they give their 
servo-mechanism fifty different things to do, thus dissipating its 
power. 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 237 

An athlete like Louganis must put a firm lid not only on that bub- 
bling stew, but also on another pot on the next burner over, where 
perhaps thoughts recognizing stiffness or soreness in a limb, tension 
in a muscle, worry over form all threatens to boil up as well. All of this 
must first be replaced with single focus, to permit relaxed perform- 
ance. You, too, need to put the lids firmly on the pots, turn down the 
heat, and successfully ignore them altogether in favor of concentration 
on one vivid, successful mental picture at a time. 


Prescription 

Develop your own equivalent of the “clear the calculator” ritual, to erase 
distractions instantly on command, and practice its use. With practice, it 
will become more and more effective, so that the desired “clear-headed- 
ness” occurs faster and faster, ultimately in an instant. Then, for each situ- 
ation, you can immediately follow the “erasing” with an appropriate 
mini-mental movie or even a still or two from the movie, providing the 
mental picture for the servo-mechanism to coftcentrate all of its powers on 
at that moment. 


Click off Tension, Click on Performance 

I was once backstage at a television talk show, chatting with the host 
of the program. The show’s director stuck his head in the “green 
room” door and said, “One minute.” 

“Excuse me, Dr. Maltz,” the host said. He closed his eyes firmly, 
snapped his fingers loudly once, stood still and silent for a few seconds, 
snapped his fingers again, and stood silent again for a few seconds. 
Then he opened his eyes, smiled, and said “Let’s go make show busi- 
ness magic” and walked confidently across the hallway, through the cur- 
tains and out onto the stage in front of the audience and the cameras. 

After the taping was over, I asked him about what I’d observed. 
“It’s my get-ready ritual,” he explained. “Early in my career, it took 
me twenty, even thirty minutes of hard effort to try and clear my head 
of everything except the show I was about to do. Gradually I learned 
how to do it in steps in my mind, then I was able to speed it up. Now 
I can do it in about 30 seconds.” 





238 Chapter Twelve 


“What about the finger-snapping?” I asked. 

“Those are like clicking on and off a light switch. The first snap 
triggers the clearing or blanking of my mind, and now that happens 
just about instantly. The second click triggers a quick series of slides, 
pictures of me walking out to rousing applause, the audience laughing 
during the show, a pleasant interview with a guest, and the crew, pro- 
ducer and I congratulating ourselves on another great show at its end.” 
He smiled and added, “You see, I really did read your book years ago.” 


Calmness Carries Over Too 

A helpful aside to all this is that friendliness, love, peace, quiet, and 
calmness also “carry over.” 

It is impossible, as we have said, to experience or feel either fear, 
anger, or anxiety, while completely relaxed, quiet, and composed. 
Retiring into your quiet room thus becomes an ideal clearance mech- 
anism for emotions and moods. Old emotions evaporate and disap- 
pear. At the same time you experience calmness, peacefulness, and a 
feeling of well-being that will carry over into whatever activities 
immediately follow. Your quiet time wipes the slate clean so to speak, 
clears the machine, and gives you a clean new page for the environ- 
ment to follow. 

I practiced the quiet time both immediately before and after sur- 
gery. Surgery requires a high degree of concentration, calmness, and 
control. It would be disastrous to carry over into the surgical situation 
feelings of hurry, aggressiveness, or personal worries. Therefore, I 
always deliberately cleared my mental machinery by spending a few 
moments completely relaxed in my quiet room. On the other hand, 
the high degree of concentration, purpose, and obliviousness to sur- 
roundings, which are so necessary to the surgical situation, would be 
most inappropriate to a social situation, whether the social situation be 
an interview in my office or a grand ball. Therefore, upon leaving sur- 
gery I also make it a point to spend a couple of minutes in my quiet 
room, to clear the decks, so to speak, for a new type of action. 

Dr. Ira Sharlip, a San Francisco surgeon, talks about running a 
mental movie from initial incision to final suturing. Dr. Bodell, a hand 
and joint reconstructive surgeon we interviewed for a video program 
about Psycho-Cybernetics, told us of creating vivid, detailed mental 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 239 


movies of operations the evening before performing them, so that the 
perfect operation is installed in his mind and the performance is rote. 
It seems we are all using nearly identical approaches to create a carry- 
over of calmness into the operatory. 


Build Your Own Psychic Umbrellas 

By practicing the techniques in this chapter you can build your own 
psychic umbrellas, which will screen out disturbing stimuli, bring you 
more peace of mind, and enable you to perform better. Prepare your 
own mental tranquilizers, which can be consumed without side effects 
or expense. 

Above all, keep in mind, and hammer it home to yourself, that 
the key to the matter of whether you are disturbed or tranquil, fearful 
or composed is not the external stimulus, whatever it may be, but your 
own response and reaction. Your own response is what “makes” you 
feel fearful, anxious, insecure. If you do not respond at all, but just “let 
the telephone ring,” it is impossible for you to feel disturbed, regard- 
less of what is happening around you. 

You are striving to be an actor, not a reactor. Throughout this 
book we have spoken of reacting and responding appropriately to 
environmental factors. The human being, however, is not primarily a 
reactor, but an “actor.” We do not merely react and respond, willy- 
nilly, to whatever environmental factors may be present, like a ship 
without a captain, that goes whichever way the wind happens to blow. 
As goal-striving beings we first act. We set our own goal, determine 
our own course. Then, within the context of this goal-striving struc- 
ture, we respond and react appropriately, that is, in a manner that fur- 
thers our progress and serves our own ends. 

If responding and reacting to negative feedback does not take us 
farther down the road to our own goal or serve our ends, then there is 
no need to respond at all. And, if response of any kind gets us off course 
or works against us, then no response is the appropriate response. 


Your Emotional Stabilizer 

In almost any goal-striving situation, our own inner stability is in itself 
an important goal to maintain. We must be sensitive to negative feed- 



240 Chapter Twelve 


back data that advises us when we are off course, so that we can change 
direction and go forward. But at the same time, we must keep our own 
ship afloat and stable. Our ship must not be tossed and rocked and 
perhaps sunk by every passing wave or even a serious storm. As 
Prescott Lecky expressed it, “The same attitude must be maintained 
in spite of environmental changes.” 

Our letting the telephone ring is a mental attitude that keeps our 
stability. It keeps us from being tossed about, knocked off course, or 
shaken up, by every wave or ripple in the environment. 


Stop Fighting Straw Men 

Still another type of inappropriate response that causes worry, insecu- 
rity, and tension is the bad habit of trying to respond emotionally to 
something that doesn’t exist except in our imaginations. Not satisfied 
with overresponding to actual minor stimuli in the actual environ- 
ment, many of us create straw men in our imaginations and emotion- 
ally respond to our own mental pictures. In addition to negatives that 
actually exist in the environment, we impose our own negatives: This 
or that may happen; what if such and such happens. When we worry, 
we form mental pictures, adverse mental pictures of what may exist in 
the environment, of what may happen. We then respond to these neg- 
ative pictures as if they were present reality. Remember, your nervous 
system cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one 
that is vividly imagined. 


"Doing Nothing" Is the Proper Response 
to an Unreal Problem 

■ Again, you can tranquilize yourself against this sort of disturbance, not 
by something you do, but by something you don’t do: your refusal to 
respond. As far as your emotions are concerned, the proper response 
to worry pictures is to totally ignore them. Live emotionally in the 
present moment. Analyze your environment, become more aware of 
what actually exists in your environment, and respond and react spon- 
taneously to that. To do this you must give all your attention to what 



Do-It-Yourself Tranquilizers That Bring Peace of Mind 241 

is happening now. You must keep your eye on the ball. Then your 
response will be appropriate, and you will have no time to notice or 
respond to a fictitious environment. 


Your First Aid Kit 

Carry these thoughts with you as a sort of first aid kit: 

Inner disturbance, or the opposite of tranquillity, is nearly always 
caused by overresponse, a too-sensitive alarm reaction. You create a 
built-in tranquilizer, or psychic screen between yourself and the dis- 
turbing stimulus, when you practice “not responding,” letting the tele- 
phone ring. 

You cure old habits of overresponse, you extinguish old condi- 
tioned reflexes, when you practice delaying the habitual, automatic, 
and unthinking response. 

Relaxation is nature’s own tranquilizer. Relaxation is nonre- 
sponse. Learn physical relaxation by daily practice. Then, when you 
need to practice nonresponse in daily activities, just do what you’re 
doing when you relax. 

Use the quiet room in your mind, both as a daily tranquilizer to 
tone down nervous response and as a way to clear your emotional 
mechanism of carry-over emotions that would be inappropriate in a 
new situation. 

Stop scaring yourself to death with your own mental pictures. 
Stop fighting straw men. Emotionally, respond only to what is — here 
and now — and ignore the rest. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Create in your imagination a vivid mental picture of yourself sitting quiedy, 
composed, unmoved, letdng your telephone ring, as outlined earlier in this 
chapter. Then, in your daily activities carry over the same peaceful, com- 
posed, unmoved attitude by remembering this mental picture. Say to your- 
self, “I am letting the telephone ring” whenever you are tempted to “obey” 
or respond to a fear-bell or anxiety-bell. Next, use your imagination to 
practice nonresponse in various sorts of situations: See yourself sitting qui- 
etly and unmoved while an associate rants and raves. See yourself going 



242 Chapter Twelve 

through your daily tasks one by one, calmly, composed, unhurried, in spite 
of the pressures of a busy day. See yourself maintaining the same constant, 
stable course, in spite of the various hurry-bells and pressure-bells in your 
environment. See yourself in various situations that have in the past upset 
you; only now you remain “set,” settled, poised by not responding. 


CHAPTER THIRTEEN 


How to Turn a Crisis into a 
Creative Opportunity 


I have seen boys on my baseball team go into slumps and 
never come out, and 1 have seen others snap right out and come 
back better than ever. I guess more players defeat themselves 
than are ever beaten by an opposing team. 

— Connie Mack 


c 


Iutch player!” “Money player!” Oh, to be able 
to handle all the pressure that comes your way 


and still perform! 

I knew a young golfer who for many years held the all-time 
course record for his home course, yet has never even placed in a 
really big tournament. When playing by himself, with friends, or in 
small tournaments where the stakes are low, his play is flawless. Yet 
each time he gets into a big tournament his game deteriorates. In the 
language of golfdom, “the pressure gets him.” 

He is not alone in this experience. 

In fact, in a popular movie, Kevin Costner played the role of a 
golfer known to all the professionals as “Tin Cup.” He was spectacu- 
larly skilled but, under the pressure of big money tournament play, 
came apart at the seams like a cheap suit in a rainstorm. Many golfers 
identified with tin cup. Ironically, one of the very best golf instructors 
and coaches I know about, who is well-known and often called on by 
top professionals, is unbeatable in friendly, casual, private play but has 
never been able to make the cut to play for real money. 

Many baseball pitchers have pinpoint control until they find 
themselves in a situation where the chips are down. Then they choke 
up, lose all control, and appear to have no ability whatever. Casey 


243 



244 Chapter Thirteen 


Stengel, famous manager of the 1950s New York Yankees, made the 
comment, “Anybody can hit home runs in batting practice.” 

On the other hand, many athletes perform better under pressure. 
The situation itself seems to give them more strength, more power, 
more finesse. Understanding why “pressure” makes some peoples’ 
performance better while destroying others’ performance is key to 
consistently and reliably being at your best. 

As an aside, let me quickly remind you that the golf pro’s or base- 
ball pitcher’s “coming apart at the seams” does not make him a lousy 
golfer or a worthless pitcher, does not make either of them a “choker.” 
Such labels, quickly slapped on by the media, by kibitzing fans, even 
by colleagues are not only reinforcing and damaging, they are funda- 
mentally untrue because a person is never his mistakes. Every one of 
us is a mistake-maker but also potentially a mistake-breaker. We most 
certainly possess the capacity to rise above our mistakes. In this case, 
these players have not yet discovered their true selves, not yet learned 
how to successfully manage their self-images and servo-mechanisms 
so as to respond positively to pressure. While what they do not know 
and have not mastered does control them at the moment, it does not 
define them, and whether it is of days, months, or years in duration, it 
can be changed! 


People Who Come into Their Own in a Crisis 

One basketball player’s foul shot average may be significantly better 
during practice than regular games, and better in regular games than 
in playoffs, while another exhibits the reverse behavior; performance 
improves in a playoff, all-or-nothing situation. Almost every NFL 
team of note has one pass receiver who can be relied on to make a big 
play or extraordinarily difficult catch in the clutch, when everything 
depends on that play. Yet he may muff a number of easy receptions 
earlier in the game. Quarterbacks learn to throw to their clutch 
receivers when they must, and often also learn to use them minimally 
at other times. 

One salesperson may find himself inarticulate in the presence of 
an important prospect. His skills desert him. Another salesperson 
under the same circumstances, may “sell over her head.” The chal- 
lenge of the situation brings out abilities she does not ordinarily pos- 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 245 


sess. (In our book Zero Resistance Selling , one of the most important 
chapters is “How To Sell When You Are in Over Your Head.”) 

There are students who do extremely well in day-to-day class 
work, but find their minds a blank when taking an examination. There 
are other students who are ordinary in class work, but do extremely 
well on important examinations. 


The Secret of the Money Player 

The difference between all these persons is not an inherent quality 
that one has and the other hasn’t. It is largely a matter of how they 
learned to react to crisis situations. 

A “crisis” is a situation that can either make you or break you. If 
you react properly to the crisis, it can give you strength, power, wisdom 
you do not ordinarily possess. If you react improperly, a crisis can rob 
you of the skill, control, and ability that you ordinarily have to call on. 

The so-called “money player” in sports, in business, or in social activ- 
ities — the person who comes through in the clutch, who performs better 
under the stimulus of challenge — is invariably the person who has learned 
either consciously or unconsciously to react well to crisis situations. 

To perform well in a crisis, we need to (1) learn certain skills 
under conditions where we will not be overmotivated; we need to prac- 
tice without pressure. (2) We need to learn to react to crisis with an 
aggressive, rather than a defensive, attitude, to respond to the challenge 
in the situation rather than to the menace, to keep our positive goal in 
mind. (3) We need to learn to evaluate so-called “crisis” situations in 
their true perspective, to avoid making mountains out of molehills or 
reacting as if every small challenge were a matter of life or death. 

In other words, making yourself into a money player is very doable, 
because it is totally dependent on a relatively short list of attitudes and 
skills that can be learned, exercised, and developed, and that can be accel- 
erated in development and maintained through other Psycho- 
Cybernetics Techniques. No one lacks what it takes to be a money player. 


Practice Without Pressure 

Although we may learn fast, we do not learn well under crisis condi- 
tions. Throw a man who can’t swim into water over his head, and the 



246 Chapter Thirteen 


crisis itself may give him the power to swim to safety. He learns fast, 
and manages to swim somehow. But he will never learn to become a 
championship swimmer. The crude inept stroke that he used to rescue 
himself becomes fixed and it is difficult for him to learn better ways of 
swimming. Because of his ineptness he may perish in a real crisis 
where he is required to swim a long distance. 

Dr. Edward C. Tolman, psychologist and expert on animal 
behavior at the University of California, said that both animals and 
men form “brain maps” or “cognitive maps” of the environment while 
they are learning. If the motivation is not too intense, if there is not 
too much of a crisis present in the learning situation, these maps are 
broad and general. If the animal is overmotivated, the cognitive map 
is narrow and restricted. It learns just one way of solving the problem. 
In the future, if this one way happens to be blocked, the animal 
becomes frustrated and fails to discern alternative routes or detours. It 
develops a single cut-and-dried, preconceived response and tends to 
lose the ability to react spontaneously to a new situation. It cannot 
improvise. It can only follow a set plan. 

Consider the young man growing up in a tough ghetto environ- 
ment, spending his time on the street, interacting with gang members, 
at risk virtually all the time, in an environment where any hint of fear, 
weakness or vulnerability may lead to dire consequences. If this is the 
environment in which he learns all his conflict resolution skills, he will 
learn only one narrowly defined set of such skills, probably incorporat- 
ing fiercely aggressive behavior and physical violence. I would suggest 
you might see this reflected in a man like Mike Tyson, awesomely suc- 
cessful in the boxing ring but horribly unsuccessful in any other setting. 


Pressure Retards Learning 

Dr. Tolman found that if rats were permitted to learn and practice under 
noncrisis conditions, they later performed well in a crisis. For example, 
if rats were permitted to roam about at will and explore a maze when 
well fed and with plenty to drink, they did not appear to learn any- 
thing. Later, however, if the same rats were placed in the maze while 
hungry, they showed they had learned a great deal by quickly and effi- 
ciently going to the goal. Hunger faced these trained rats with a crisis 
to which they reacted well. 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 247 


Other rats, forced to learn the maze under the crisis of hunger 
and thirst, did not do so well. They were overmotivated and their 
brain maps became narrow. The one “correct” route to the goal 
became fixated. If this route was blocked, the rats became frustrated 
and had great difficulty learning a new one. 


Fire Drills Teach Crisis Conduct in 
Noncrisis Situation 

People react in the same way. Persons who have to learn how to get 
out of a burning building will normally require two or three times as 
long to learn the proper escape route, as they would if no fire were 
present. Some of them do not learn at all. Overmotivation interferes 
with reasoning processes. The automatic reaction mechanism is 
jammed by too much conscious effort, trying too hard. 'Something 
akin to purpose tremor develops and the ability to think clearly is lost. 
The ones who manage somehow to get out of the building have 
learned a narrow fixated response. Put them in a different building, or 
change the circumstances slightly, and they react as badly the second 
time around as the first. 

But you can take these same people, let them practice a “dry run” 
fire drill when there is no fire. Because there is no menace, there is no 
excessive negative feedback to interfere with clear thinking or correct 
doing. They practice filing out of the building calmly, efficiently, and 
correctly. After they have practiced this a number of times, they can be 
counted on to act the same way when an actual fire breaks out. Their 
muscles, nerves, and brain have memorized a broad, general, flexible 
map. The attitude of calmness and clear thinking will carry over from 
practice drill to actual fire. Moreover, they will have learned some- 
thing about how to get out of any building or cope with any changed 
circumstances. They are not committed to a rigid response, but will be 
able to improvise, to react spontaneously to whatever conditions may 
be present. 

The moral is obvious for either mice or men: Practice without 
pressure and you will learn more efficiently and be able to perform 
better in a crisis situation. 



248 Chapter Thirteen 


Shadow-Boxing for Stability 

Famous boxer Gentleman Jim Corbett made the word “shadow-box- 
ing” popular. When asked how he developed the perfect control and 
timing for his left jab, which he used to cut John L. Sullivan, the 
Boston Strong-boy, to ribbons, Corbett replied that he had practiced 
throwing his left at his own image in the mirror more than 10,000 
times in preparation for the bout. 

Gene Tunney did the same thing. Years before he actually fought 
Jack Dempsey in the ring, he had fought an imaginary Dempsey more 
than a hundred times in the privacy of his own room. He secured all 
the films of old Dempsey fights. He watched them until he knew every 
one of Dempsey’s moves. Then he shadow-boxed. He would imagine 
that Dempsey was standing before him. When the imaginary 
Dempsey would make a certain move, he would practice his counter- 
move. 

Billy Graham preached sermons to cypress stumps in a Florida 
swamp before developing his compelling platform personality with 
live audiences. Most good public speakers have done the same thing in 
one way or another. The most common form of shadow-boxing for 
public speakers is to deliver their speech to their own image in the 
mirror. One man I know lines up six or eight empty chairs, imagines 
people sitting in them, and practices his speech on the invisible audi- 
ence. Another lectured to chickens on his farm! 

A female stand-up comedian I know, who asked not to be identi- 
fied by name, told me that, early in her career, she practiced deliver- 
ing her routine with full style and emotion as if before a big 
audience — but actually alone, standing completely naked, in front of 
three full-length mirrors arranged in an arc in front of her! She rea- 
soned that she never felt more vulnerable and inhibited than being 
seen naked (which is why she preferred having sex only in a dark 
room) so if she could stand nude in a lit room looking at her mirrored 
reflections and still concentrate and deliver her routine there, she’d be 
able to do it easily fully clothed and thus “protected” in front of an 
audience. Prior to this conversation I had heard of speakers visualiz- 
ing their audiences stripped to their underwear so as to be less intim- 
idating, but I’d never heard of a speaker going au naturale! 

She uniquely combined “safe” practice with simulated or syn- 
thetic pressure. 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 249 


For the record, she has gone onto become one of the most suc- 
cessful female comedians in the business. 

My point is to find a form of shadow-boxing that works for you. 


Easy Practice Brings Better Scores 

When the great Ben Hogan was playing tournament golf regularly, he 
kept a golf club in his bedroom, and daily practiced in private, swing- 
ing the club correctly and without pressure at an imaginary golf ball. 
When Hogan was on the links, he would go through the correct 
motions in his imagination before making a shot, then depend on mus- 
cle memory to execute the shot correctly. Virtually all golf instruction 
today incorporates such relaxed practice and imagination practice. 


Shadow-Boxing "Turns on" Self-Expression 

The word “express” literally means to push out, exert, show forth. The 
word “inhibit” means to choke off, restrict. Self-expression is a push- 
ing out, a showing forth, of the powers, talents and abilities of the self. 
It means turning on your own light and letting it shine. Self-expres- 
sion is a yes response. Inhibition is a no response. It chokes off self- 
expression, turns off or dims your light. 

In shadow-boxing you practice self-expression with no actual 
inhibiting factors present. You learn the correct moves. You form a men- 
tal map that is retained in memory. A broad, general, flexible map. Then, 
when you face a crisis, where an actual menace or inhibiting factor is 
present, you have learned to act calmly and correctly. There is a carry- 
over in your muscles, nerves, and brain from practice to the actual situa- 
tion. Moreover, because your learning has been relaxed and 
pressure-free, you will be able to rise to the occasion, extemporize, 
improvise, act spontaneously. At the same time your shadow-boxing is 
building a mental image of yourself acting correctly and successfully. The 
memory of this successful self-image also enables you to perform better. 

Dry-Shooting Is the Secret of Good Marksmanship 

A novice on the pistol range will quite often find that he can hold the 
hand gun perfectly still and motionless, as long as he is not trying to 



250 Chapter Thirteen 


shoot. When he aims an empty gun at a target, his hand is steady. 
When the same gun is loaded and he attempts to make a score, pur- 
pose tremor sets in. The gun barrel uncontrollably moves up and 
down, back arid forth, in much the same way that your hand tremors 
when you attempt to thread a needle (see Chapter 1 1). Many good pis- 
tol coaches recommend lots of dry run target shooting to overcome 
this condition. The marksman calmly and deliberately aims, cocks, 
and snaps the hand gun at a target on the wall. Calmly and deliberately 
he pays attention to just how he is holding the gun, whether it is 
canted or not, whether he is squeezing or jerking the trigger. He 
learns good habits calmly. There is no purpose tremor because there 
is no overcarefulness, no overanxiety for results. After thousands of 
such dry runs, the novice will find that he can hold the loaded gun, and 
actually shoot it while maintaining the same mental attitude, and 
going through the same calm, deliberate physical motions. 


Shadow-Boxing Helps You Hit the Ball 

I visited a friend of mine one Sunday in a suburb of New York. His 10- 
year-old son had visions of becoming a big-league baseball star. His 
fielding was adequate, but he couldn’t hit. Each time his father threw 
the ball across the plate, the boy froze up — and missed it by a foot. I 
decided to try something. “You’re so anxious to hit the ball, and so 
afraid you won’t, that you can’t even see it clearly,” I said. All that ten- 
sion and anxiety was interfering with his eyesight and his reflexes; his 
arm muscles weren’t executing the orders from his brain. 

“For the next ten pitches,” I said, “don’t even try to hit the ball. 
Don’t try at all. Keep your bat on your shoulder. But watch the ball 
very carefully. Keep your eyes on it from the time it leaves your 
Daddy’s hand until it goes by you. Stand easy and loose, and just watch 
the ball go by.” 

After ten trials of this, I advised him, “Now for a while, watch the 
ball go by and keep the bat on your shoulder, but' think to yourself you 
are going to bring the bat around so it will really hit the ball, solidly 
and dead center.” After this, I told him to keep on “feeling the same 
way” and to keep watching the ball carefully, and to “let” the bat come 
around and meet the ball, making no attempt to hit it hard. The boy 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 251 


hit the ball. After a few easy hits like this, he was knocking the ball a 
country mile, and I had a friend for life. 


The Salesman Who Practiced "Not Selling" 

You can use the same technique to “hit the ball” in selling, teaching, 
or running a business. A young salesperson complained to me that he 
froze up when calling on prospects. His one big trouble was his inabil- 
ity to properly reply to the prospect’s objections. “When a prospect 
raises an objection or criticizes my product, I can’t think of a thing to 
say at the time,” he said. “Later, I can think of all kinds of good ways 
to handle the objection.” 

I told him about shadow-boxing and about the kid who learned 
to bat by letting the ball go by with the bat on his shoulder. I pointed 
out that hitting a baseball or thinking on your feet requires good 
reflexes. Your Automatic Success Mechanism must respond appropri- 
ately and automatically. Too much tension, too much motivation, or 
too much anxiety for results jams the mechanism. “You think of the 
proper answers later because you’re relaxed and the pressure is off. 
Right now your trouble is you’re not responding quickly and sponta- 
neously to the objections your prospects throw at you. In other words, 
you’re not hitting the ball that the prospect throws.” 

I told him first of all to practice a number of imaginary inter- 
views — actually walking in, introducing himself to a prospect, making 
his sales pitch — then imagining every possible objection, no matter how 
screwballish, and answering it out loud. Next, he was to practice “with 
his bat on his shoulder” on an actual live client. He was to go in with an 
“empty gun” as far as intents and purposes were concerned. The pur- 
pose of the sales interview would not be to sell. He had to resign him- 
self to being satisfied with no order. The purpose of the call would be 
strictly practice — “bat on the shoulder,” “empty gun” practice. 

In his own words, this shadow-boxing “worked like a miracle.” 

As a young medical student I used to shadow-box surgical oper- 
ations on cadavers. This no-pressure practice taught me much more 
than technique. It taught a future surgeon calmness, deliberateness, 
clear thinking, because he had practiced all these things in a situation 
that was not do-or-die, life-or-death. 



252 Chapter Thirteen 


How to Make Your "Nerves" Work for You 

The word “crisis” comes from a Greek word that means, literally, 
decisiveness, or point of decision. 

A crisis is a fork in the road. One fork holds a promise of a bet- 
ter condition, the other of a worse condition. In medicine, the crisis is 
a turning point where the patient either gets worse and dies or gets 
better and lives. 

Thus every crisis situation is two-pronged. The relief pitcher who 
goes into the game in the ninth inning with the score tied and three men 
on base can become a hero and gain in prestige, or he can become a vil- 
lain who loses the game. Hugh Casey, who was one of the most success- 
ful and the calmest relief pitchers of all time, was once asked what he 
thought of when he was sent in a game in the middle of a crisis situation. 

“I always think about what I a m going to do, and what 1 want to 
happen,” he said, “instead of what the batter is going to do or what may 
happen to me.” He said he concentrated on what he wanted to hap- 
pen, felt that he could make it happen, and that it usually did. 

This same attitude is another important key to reacting well in 
any crisis situation. If we can maintain an aggressive attitude, react 
aggressively instead of negatively to threats and crises, the very situa- 
tion itself can act as a stimulus to release un tapped powers. 


Keep Your Goal in Mind 

The essence of all this is remaining goal-oriented. You keep your own 
positive goal in mind. You intend to go through the crisis experience to 
achieve your goal. If you can do this, the crisis situation itself acts as a 
stimulus that releases additional power to help you accomplish your goal. 
In fact, in many instances, what begins as a crisis ends as yet another 
opportunity for real progress toward the overriding objectives. 

I once visited with a woman who had taken the reins of a very 
troubled inner city high school as its principal. At the time, she was 
most unusual, a woman in a “man’s job.” She was also hip-deep in 
problems, from teachers who had given up and were just going 
through the motions to inadequate resources, to kids completely unin-, 
volved in learning, to actual crime and violence. She told me that each 
day was “crisis city.” Two years after taking this position, for which, I 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 253 


might add, there was little competition, she had turned this school 
around dramatically. Attendance was up, grade averages were up, “bad 
apples” were plucked and extracted, real learning (not just warehous- 
ing) was taking place. The change was so remarkable that school 
administrators from distant cities came to observe this school and con- 
sult with this principal. Again, this was all the more remarkable 
because it was a woman captaining the turnaround in the late 1960s. 

When I asked her how she’d been able to weather the relentless 
storminess of this environment day after day, she explained that she 
kept reminding herself that each crisis presented another different 
opportunity to accomplish something linked to her ultimate objective. 
Her handling of each problem was an opportunity to gain the trust or 
grudging respect of a teacher or a student, and she told herself that she 
would use these as building blocks, constructing her influence and 
control over this unwieldy organism called a school one brick at a 
time. At the end of a particularly bad day, she acknowledged to herself 
that a few bricks she thought had been properly laid had been knocked 
back out of place, but that it only meant she would need to put them 
back and get another one in place the next day. When some crisis 
exploded into her office, she not only asked herself how to solve it, but 
how to utilize solving it as a means of moving closer toward her vision 
of what this school was going to be like when it was made over. “It was 
like a jigsaw puzzle in my mind,” she told me. “I had a picture from 
the box of what it would look like when it was done. Then I had all 
these loose, scrambled pieces in a pile. Most of the time, I didn’t get 
to methodically search for the next piece. I had one leap out of the pile 
and demand I try to fit it into the puzzle. Sometimes the piece was on 
fire and had to be saved before it could be used. Sometimes it was 
crumbling and had to be taped together. But piece by piece I was still 
completing a puzzle. The trick was to keep the box handy with the pic- 
ture of the whole, and not lose sight of it.” 

If you think about her experience and the words she used to 
explain her approach, you can clearly see that she was heavily relying 
on Psycho-Cybernetics for equilibrium in a pressure-cooker situation. 

Lecky has said that the purpose of emotion is “re-enforcement,” 
or additional strength, rather than to serve as a sign of weakness. He 
believed that there was only one basic emotion — excitement — and that 
excitement manifests itself as fear, anger, courage, etc. depending on 



254 Chapter Thirteen 


our own inner goals at the time, whether we are inwardly organized to 
conquer a problem, run away from it, or destroy it. “The real problem 
is not to control emotion, but to control the choice of which tendency 
shall receive emotional reinforcement.” (Prescott Lecky, Self 
Consistency, A Theory of Personality, New York, Island Press) 

If your intention or your attitude-goal is to go forward, if it is to 
make the most of the crisis situation and win out in spite of it, then the 
excitement of the occasion will reinforce this tendency. It will give you 
more courage, more strength to go forward. If you lose sight of your 
original goal, and your attitude-goal becomes one of running away 
from the crisis, of seeking to somehow get past it by evading it, this 
running-away tendency will also be reinforced, and you will experi- 
ence fear and anxiety. 


Don't Mistake Excitement for Fear 

Many people have made the mistake of habitually interpreting the 
feeling of excitement as fear and anxiety, and therefore interpreting it 
as a proof of inadequacy. 

Any normal person who is intelligent enough to understand the 
situation becomes excited or nervous just before a crisis situation. Until 
you direct it toward a goal, this excitement is neither fear, anxiety, 
courage, confidence, nor anything else other than a stepped-up, rein- 
forced supply of emotional steam in your boiler. It is not a sign of weak- 
ness. It is a sign of additional strength to be used in any way you choose. 


Prescription 

Stop thinking in terms of fear, anxiety or nervousness, and think only in 
terms of excitement. It is fine to be a bit excited before you step into the 
spotlight in whatever you do. 


Experienced actors know that this feeling of excitement just 
before a performance is a good token. Many of them deliberately 
work themselves up emotionally just before going on stage. I’ve been 






How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 255 


told by those who would know that even after many years hosting The 
Tonight Show, Johnny Carson was still so “hyper” backstage that he 
would sometimes feel nauseous right before the curtains parted and he 
walked out to deliver his opening monologue. A wonderful man and, 
for years, one of America’s most beloved speakers to sales organiza- 
tions, the founder of the National Speakers Association, Cavett 
Robert used to say “Don’t try to get rid of the butterflies in your stom- 
ach. Just get them to fly in formation.” 

Many people place their bets at racetracks on the basis of which 
horse appears to be the most nervous just before going to the post. 
Trainers also know that a horse that becomes nervous or spirited just 
before a race will perform better than usual. The term “spirited” is a 
good one. The excitement that you feel just before a crisis situation is an 
infusion of spirit and should be so interpreted by you. You do not need 
to get rid of this; you need to mafshall it as a force for your own benefit. 

In fact, the absence of this excitement can pose its own problems. 
Not long ago I met a man on a plane whom I had not seen for several 
years. In the course of conversation, I asked if he still made as many 
public speeches as he had in the past. Yes, he said, as a matter of fact he 
had changed jobs so that he would be able to speak more and now made 
at least one public speech every day. Knowing his love for public speak- 
ing, I commented that it was good he had this type of work. “Yes,” he 
said, “in one way it is good. But in another way it is not so good. I don’t 
make as many good speeches now as I used to. I speak so often that it 
has become old-hat to me, and I no longer feel that little tingly feeling 
in the pit of my stomach, which tells me that I am going to do well.” 
Some people become so excited during an important written 
examination that they are unable to think clearly or even hold a pen- 
cil steadily in their hands. Other people become so aroused under the 
same circumstances that they perform over their heads; their minds 
work better and clearer than usual. Memory is sharpened. It is not the 
excitement per se that makes the difference, but how it is used. 


What Is the Worst That Can Possibly Happen? 

Many people have a tendency to magnify out of all proportion the 
potential penalty or failure that the crisis situation holds. We use our 
imaginations against ourselves and make mountains out of molehills. 



256 Chapter Thirteen 


Or else we do not use our imaginations at all to see what the situation 
really holds, but habitually and unthinkingly react as if every simple 
opportunity or threat were a life-or-death matter. 

If you have ever watched daytime TV soap operas, and I confess 
I have, you can quickly see a common thread stitching these programs 
together: crisis after crisis after crisis. But in these dramas, every event 
represents crisis, and everyone reacts with grossly exaggerated emo- 
tions. The perfect home for a ham actor is one of these daytime dra- 
mas. You do not want to turn your life into one of these soap operas, 
where every incident, small or large, is greeted with the same gigantic 
excitement. After all, a traffic accident that is a mere fender-bender 
and only inconveniences you a bit does not warrant the same level or 
range of excitement as one that sends you or others to the hospital 
with life-threatening injuries. In a soap opera, one is the same as the 
other. You can be more discerning. 

I once counseled a woman who was terribly unhappy with her life 
and everyone in it. Not a day passed without some provocation spark- 
ing a bitter argument with spouse, sibling, or neighbor. Her descrip- 
tions of these disputes were as dramatic as any soap opera scriptwriter 
could imagine. She perceived the slightest problem as an epic crisis, 
the most trivial slight a mammoth assault on her dignity; she even took 
inclement weather personally. A simple spill of beverage on the carpet 
was the same to her as a five alarm fire. She had become a drama 
queen. Such people exist everywhere — in marriages, in the workplace, 
in political circles — and they are toxic to themselves and to everyone 
around them. With an inappropriate level of excited response to 
events and other peoples’ behavior, such a person is a stick of TNT 
tossed into each situation. But remember, to her, her overexcitement 
is a perfectly appropriate response, and altering that will involve fun- 
damental work with her self-image. 

If you face a real crisis , you need a lot of excitement. The excite- 
ment can be used to good advantage in the crisis situation. However, 
if you overestimate the danger or the difficulty, if you react to infor- 
mation that is faulty, distorted, or unrealistic, you are likely to call up 
much more excitement than the occasion calls for. Because the real 
threat is much less than you have estimated, all this excitement cannot 
be used appropriately. It cannot be gotten rid of through creative 
action. Therefore it remains inside you, bottled up, as the jitters. A big 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 257 


excess of emotional excitement can harm rather than help perform- 
ance, simply because it is inappropriate. 

Philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell tells of a tech- 
nique which he used on himself to good advantage in toning down 
excessive excitement: 

When some misfortune threatens, consider seriously and deliberately 
what is the very worst that could possibly happen. Having looked this 
possible misfortune in the face, give yourself sound reasons for thinking 
that after all it would be no such very terrible disaster. Such reasons 
always exist, since at the worst nothing that happens to oneself has any 
cosmic importance. When you have looked for some time steadily at the 
worst possibility and have said to yourself with real conviction, “Well, 
after all, that would not matter so very much,” you will find that your 
worry diminishes to a quite extraordinary extent. It may be necessary to 
repeat the process a few times, but in the end, if you have shirked noth- 
ing in facing the worse possible issue, you will find that your worry dis- 
appears altogether and is replaced by a kind of exhilaration. (Bertrand 
Russell, The Conquest of Happiness) 

I believe it is also important to have the self-image of someone 
who responds well to crisis, and is frequently successful at finding 
opportunity in adversity. The person who sees himself as “no good in 
an emergency” cannot do much with Bertrand Russell’s advice. 


Life Is Long 

Many people allow themselves to be thrown off course by minor or 
even imaginary threats, which they insist on interpreting as life-or- 
death or do-or-die situations. 

To the teenage girl, just spotting her boyfriend or even her 
hoped-for-boyfriend sitting and talking amiably with another attractive 
girl is of life or death importance. “I just want to die!” she exclaims. We 
all know that a few years from that moment, she won’t even remember 
it or him. Life is long. But many adults keep on behaving like teenagers 
their entire lives. Many people allow themselves to be thrown “off 
course” by very minor or even imaginary threats, which they insist 
upon interpreting as life-or-death, or do-or-die situations. 

A sales professional calling on an important prospect may act as 
if it were a matter of life or death. If I don’t close this account, she tells 



258 Chapter Thirteen 


herself, I will have wasted months of effort. I’ll miss quota. I won’t 
make bonus, and how will I tell my husband we can’t take our planned 
vacation? My sales manager may cut my territory. And so on. The sin- 
gle appointment takes on earthshaking importance. Yet over a year’s 
time, such a muffed opportunity will be offset by solid successes, even 
by lucky breaks that seemingly deliver new accounts or larger orders 
from unexpected sources. If this life-or-death sales call occurs in 
March, it will be part of a blur of past activity by Christmas and, over 
an entire selling career, of no importance whatsoever. Life is long. 

Perhaps this life-or-death feeling that many people experience in 
any sort of crisis situation, is a heritage from our dim and distant past, 
when failure to primitive man usually was synonymous with death. 

Regardless of its origin, however, the experience of numerous 
patients has shown that it can be cured by calmly and rationally ana- 
lyzing the situation. Rather than responding automatically, blindly, 
and irrationally, ask yourself, “What is the worst that can possibly hap- 
pen if I fail?” Remind yourself that “Life is long” and seek the per- 
spective of 20/20 hindsight in advance. 


The Curtain Will Rise on a Second Act 

Close scrutiny will show that most of these everyday so-called crisis sit- 
uations are not life-or-death matters at all, but opportunities to either 
advance or stay where you are. For example, what is the worst that can 
happen to the salesperson? She will either get an order and come out 
better off than she was or she will not get the order and be no worse off 
than before she made the call. The applicant will either get the job or 
not. If he fails to get it, he will be in the same position as before he asked. 

Few people realize just how potent such a simple change of atti- 
tude can be. One salesperson I know doubled his income after he was 
able to change his attitude from a scared and panicky outlook 
(“Everything depends on this”) to the attitude, “I have everything to 
gain and nothing to lose.” 

Walter Pidgeoh, the great actor, told how his first public per- 
formance was a complete flop. He was scared to death. However, 
between acts, he reasoned with himself that he had already failed, 
therefore he had nothing to lose; that if he gave up acting altogether 
he would be a complete failure as an actor, and therefore he really had 



How to Turn a Crisis into a Creative Opportunity 259 


nothing to worry about by going back on. He went out in the second 
act relaxed and confident, and made a big hit. 

It seems there’s always a second act waiting for you if you calmly 
organize yourself to take advantage of it. 

There was a time when Frank Sinatra’s career was so far in the 
doldrums he couldn’t find work. Few remember any of that; Sinatra is 
remembered as a giant. George Foreman had completely left boxing, 
was struggling as an evangelist, struggling just to earn sufficient 
money to feed his family, and was outright laughed at and ridiculed 
when he began his boxing comeback. During his first act, his person- 
ality had been so unpleasant, he had few friends in the media. He talks 
about how he deliberately mounted his comeback with a very differ- 
ent personality, so as to become a valuable sports personality by the 
end of the second act, not just a washed-up old boxer. And he suc- 
ceeded masterfully, ultimately becoming a millionaire thanks to his 
immense popularity as a commercial spokesperson, public speaker, 
and sports commentator. A small kitchen appliance company became 
a giant in short order on the strength of George Foreman’s “pitching” 
its products on TV infomercials and TV home shopping channels in 
the late 1990s. Regis Philbin had bounced around the TV business, 
hosting mostly local talk shows in different markets for twenty years, 
and was widely regarded as a minor player in the industry and by crit- 
ics, before his syndicated morning show and his hosting the enor- 
mously popular “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” made him big, and 
led to a reported $20-million contract with ABC. Regis’ second act 
will make the twenty years that preceded it irrelevant. Former 
President Jimmy Carter had, by most measurements, a woefully 
unsuccessful and troubled presidency, was voted out of office after his 
first term in a landslide, and returned to small-town Plains, Georgia 
with his tail between his legs, admittedly depressed. But his second act 
has led to prestige, prominence, influence, and bipartisan respect, and 
many historians agree that he has been “the best former President.” 

We can read about “the second act” in the lives of such famous 
people, but don’t lose sight of the fact that most successful but nonfa- 
mous people have second acts too. Many a prosperous businessperson 
has a business bankruptcy in the past that, at its moment, was humili- 
ating and seemed of life-or-death importance. Many a gratified parent 
with a good relationship with grown son or daughter has a spectacu- 



260 Chapter Thirteen 


larly rocky patch when the relationship was in shambles to look back 
on. Many happily married men and women have woefully unsuccess- 
ful first marriages and ugly, bitter divorces in their pasts. 

For the most part, today’s crisis winds up being but one little 
“blip” on a long life history. For today, there’s an immediate second act 
tomorrow. For this week, there’s a second act beginning next Monday. 
For even the authentic tragedy, there’s a second act waiting to be 
scripted and played out over time. 

Remember, above all, that the key to any crisis situation is you. 
Practice and learn the simple techniques of this chapter, and you, like 
hundreds of others before you, can learn to make crisis work for you 
by making crisis a creative opportunity. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Creating 20/20 hindsight as foresight is yet another immensely valuable and 
creative use of your imagination. Stop and recall a few situations from your 
past that seemed of dire, earth-shaking consequence at the time but have 
proven inconsequential over time. Then project yourself three, four, or five 
years into the future, looking back on today’s event, and consider how you 
will feel about it and how much impact it will have had on your life. 





CHAPTER FOURTEEN 


How to Get and Keep 
“That Winning Feeling” 


Slump? 1 ain't in no slump. . .Ijust ain't hitting. 

— Yogi Berra 


v 

V our 

JL Th; 


our powerful servo-mechanism is tele-logical. 
That is, it operates in terms of goals and end 
results. Once you give it a definite goal to achieve you can depend on 
its automatic guidance system to take you to that goal much better 
than you ever could by conscious thought. You supply the goal by 
thinking, in terms of end results. Your automatic mechanism then 
supplies the means whereby. If your muscles need to perform some 
motion to bring about the end result, your automatic mechanism will 
guide them much more accurately and delicately than you could by 
taking thought. If you need ideas, your automatic mechanism will 
supply them. There are even many who believe that if you need con- 
tacts, your servo-mechanism can magnetically attract them. 

Whatever the extent of its powers, one thing is certain; it will lie 
sleepy, lazy, and dormant, if undirected. Note the word “servo”; it is 
your servant. If not called on, will servants in the mansion polish the 
silver, prepare high tea, or launder the clothes solely on their own ini- 
tiative, attempting to anticipate the lord of the manor’s wishes? Don’t 
count on it. Also, if the servants employed speak only in an unintelli- 
gible foreign tongue and the master speaks only in English, unintelli- 
gible to the servant, how much will get accomplished? You see, 
Psycho-Cybernetics is both the language translator so that you, the 


261 



262 Chapter Fourteen 


master, can communicate with and be understood by your “inner ser- 
vant,” and the means of organizing the “to-do list” directives you give 
to the inner servant so that they may be brought to fruition. 


Think in Terms of Possibilities 

You must supply the goal. And to supply a goal capable of activating 
your creative mechanism, you must think of the end result in terms of 
a present possibility. The possibility of the goal must be seen so clearly 
that it becomes real to your brain and nervous system. So real, in fact, 
that the same feelings are evoked as would be present if the goal were 
already achieved. 

This is not as difficult or mystical as it may first appear. You and 
I do it every day of our lives. What, for example, is worry about pos- 
sible unfavorable future results, accompanied by feelings of anxiety, 
inadequacy, or perhaps humiliation? For all practical purposes we 
experience the very same emotions in advance that would be appro- 
priate if we had already failed. We picture failure to ourselves, not 
vaguely or in general terms, but vividly and in great detail. We repeat 
the failure images over and over again to ourselves. We go back in 
memory and dredge up memory images of past failures. 

Remember what has been emphasized earlier: Our brain and 
nervous system cannot tell the difference between a real experience 
and one which is vividly imagined. Our automatic creative mechanism 
always acts and reacts appropriately to the environment, circumstance, 
or situation. The only information concerning the environment, cir- 
cumstance, or situation available to it is what you believe to be true con- 
cerning them. 


Your Nervous System Can’t Tell 
"Real Failure” from Imagined Failure 

Thus, if we dwell on failure and continually picture failure to ourselves 
in such vivid detail that it becomes real to our nervous system, we will 
experience the feelings, even the physical responses, that go with failure. 

On the other hand, if we keep our positive goal in mind, and pic- 
ture it to ourselves so vividly as to make it real, and think of it in terms 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 263 


of an accomplished fact, we will also experience winning feelings: self- 
confidence, courage, and faith that the outcome will be desirable. 

We cannot consciously peek into our creative mechanism and see 
whether it is geared for success or failure. But we can determine its 
present set by our feelings. When it is set for success, we experience 
that winning feeling. 


Setting Your Machinery for Success 

And if there is one simple secret to the operation of your creative 
servo-mechanism, it is this: Call up, capture, evoke the feeling of success. 
When you feel successful and self-confident, you will act successfully. 
When the feeling is strong, you can literally do no wrong. 

The winning feeling itself does not cause you to operate success- 
fully, but it is more in the nature of a sign or symptom that we are 
geared for success. It is more like a thermostat, which does not cause 
the heat in the room but measures it. However, we can use this ther- 
mostat in a very practical way. Remember: When you experience that 
winning feeling, your internal machinery is set for success. 

Too much effort to consciously bring about spontaneity is likely 
to destroy spontaneous action. It is much easier and more effective to 
simply define your goal or end result. Picture it to yourself clearly and 
vividly. Then simply capture the feeling you would experience if the 
desirable goal were already an accomplished fact. Then you are acting 
spontaneously and creatively. Then you are using the powers of your 
subconscious mind. Then your internal machinery is geared for suc- 
cess: to guide you in making the correct muscular motions and adjust- 
ments, to supply you with creative ideas, and to do whatever else is 
necessary to make the goal, an accomplished fact. 


How That Winning Feeling Won a Golf Tournament 

Dr. Cary Middlecoff, writing in the April 1956 issue of Esquire 
Magazine, said that The Winning Feeling is the real secret of champi- 
onship golf.. “Four days before I hit my first drive in the Masters last 
year, I had a feeling I was sure to win that tournament,” he said. “I felt 
that every move I made in getting to the top of my back swing put my 



264 Chapter Fourteen 

muscles in perfect position to hit the ball exactly as I wanted to. And 
in putting, too, that marvelous feeling came to me. I knew I hadn’t 
changed my grip any, and my feet were in the usual position. But there 
was something about the way I felt that gave me a line to the cup just as 
clearly as if it had been tattooed on my brain. With that feeling all I had to 
do was swing the clubs and let nature take its course. ” 

Middlecoff went on to say that the winning feeling is “every- 
body’s secret of good golf,” that when you have it the ball even 
bounces right for you, and that it seems to control that elusive element 
called luck. 

Before pitching his famous perfect game in the World Series, 
Don Larsen said that, the night before, he “had the crazy feeling” that 
he would pitch perfectly the next day. 

Today’s athletes sometimes talk about this winning feeling as 
“being in the zone,” as entering a time and place and emotional state 
where they are totally relaxed, totally confident of the outcome. Many 
times we can sense that they are in the zone just by observation. Recall 
John Elway’s last-minute, end-zone-to-end-zone march that deprived 
the Cleveland Browns of competing in the Super Bowl — now known 
to football fans as The Drive. Just about everybody who watched The 
Drive looked at each other when it began and nodded; it seemed pre- 
destined and inevitable even to Browns fans that The Drive was about 
to occur. 

But let’s remember that the zone is not a real, physical . place, nor 
is it a sudden change in physical skill or technical capability, nor is it 
even rationally justified by statistical probabilities or past experience. It 
is purely an emotional state. In my opinion, it is the complete and utter 
release of responsibility for hitting a target to the servo-mechanism. It 
is, in a way, surrender to the servo-mechanism to such a degree that all 
anxiety, worry, stress, and desperation disappear in an instant, and the 
person just goes about performing. the necessary functions in a calm, 
businesslike manner. 

Much work has gone into finding ways to trigger this emotional 
state on demand. The popular motivational guru of recent years, Tony 
Robbins, is reportedly paid huge sums by a handful of top athletes, 
notably including Andre Agassi and Greg Norman, to teach them such 
“get into state fast” techniques. 

There is truly magic in this winning feeling. It can seemingly 
cancel out obstacles and impossibilities. It can use errors and mistakes 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 265 


to accomplish success. J. C. Penney tells how he heard his father say 
on his death bed, “I know Jim will make it.” From that time onward, 
Penney felt that he would succeed somehow, although he had no tan- 
gible assets, no money, no education. The chain of J. C. Penney stores 
was built on many impossible circumstances and discouraging 
moments. Whenever Penney would get discouraged, however, he 
would remember the prediction of his father, and he would feel that 
somehow he could whip the problem facing him. 

After making a fortune, he lost it all at an age when most men 
have long since been retired. He found himself penniless, past his 
prime, and with little tangible evidence to furnish reason for hope. But 
again he remembered the words of his father, and soon recaptured the 
winning feeling, which had now become habitual with him. He rebuilt 
his fortune and in a few years was operating more stores than ever. 

Mr. Penney had as his most concrete foundation, a profound, 
fundamental belief grooved into his self-image that he was the kind of 
a person who would make it. 

Unfortunately, many people have heard just the opposite from 
parents or other influences, causing them to give far greater import to 
the times when they fail than to the times they succeed, gradually 
becoming convinced that they are the kind of persons who never seem 
to make it happen. 

The simple distinction in self-concept and self-talk should not 
have its strength and power underestimated. 


How That Winning Feeling Made 
Les Giblin Successful 

Les Giblin, founder of the famous Les Giblin Human Relations 
Clinics and author of the book How to Have Power and Confidence in 
Dealing with People, read the first draft of this chapter, then told me 
how imagination coupled with that winning feeling had worked like 
magic in his own career. 

Les had been a successful salesperson and sales manager for years. 
He had done some public relations work and had gained some degree 
of reputation as an expert in the field of human relations. He liked his 
work but he wanted to broaden his field. His big interest was people, 
and after years of study, both theoretical and practical, he thought he 



266 Chapter Fourteen 


had some answers to the problems people often have with other peo- 
ple. He wanted to lecture on human relations. However, his one big 
obstacle was lack of experience in public speaking. Les told me: 

One night, I was lying in bed thinking of my one big desire. The only 
experience I had had as a public speaker was addressing small groups of 
my own salesmen in sales meetings, and a little experience I had had in 
the Army when I served part-time as an instructor. The very thought of 
getting up before a big audience scared the wits out of me. I just could- 
n’t imagine myself doing it successfully. Yet, I could talk to my own sales- 
men with the greatest of ease. I had been able to talk to groups of soldiers 
without any trouble. Lying there in bed, I recaptured in memory the feel- 
ing of success and confidence I had had in talking to these small groups. 

I remembered all the little incidental details that had accompanied my 
feeling of poise. Then, in my imagination I pictured myself standing 
before a huge audience and making a talk on human relations — and at the 
same time having the same feeling of poise and self-confidence I had had 
with smaller groups. I pictured to myself in detail just how I would stand. 

I could feel the pressure of my feet on the floor, I could see the expres- 
sions on the people’s faces, and I could hear their applause. I saw myself 
making a talk successfully — going over with a bang. 

Something seemed to click in my mind. I felt elated. Right at that 
moment I felt that I could do it. I had welded the feeling of confidence 
and success from the past to the picture in my imagination of my career 
in the future. My feeling of success was so real that I knew right then I 
could do it. I got what you call ‘that winning feeling’ and it has never 
deserted me. Although there seemed to be no door open to me at the 
time, and the dream seemed impossible, in less than three years time I 
saw my dream come true — almost in exact detail as I had imagined it and 
felt it. Because of the fact that I was relatively unknown and because of 
my lack of experience, no major booking agency wanted me. This didn’t 
deter me. I booked myself, and still do. I have more opportunities for 
speaking engagements than I can fill. 

Les Giblin became known as an authority on human relations. 
Over two hundred 'of the largest corporations in America have paid 
him thousands of dollars to conduct human relations clinics for their 
employees. His book How to Have Confidence and Power has become a 
classic in the field. And it all started with a picture in his imagination 
and that winning feeling. 

Les’ experience demonstrates how we must search our past expe- 
riences for signs that the goal we are now tentatively imagining can be 
achieved. Those signs are almost always there, or the goal would never 
have occurred to us in the first place. You undoubtedly have “little” 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 267 


past indications that you can do what it is you would most like to do, 
and if you will look for them and highlight them in your mind, you can 
begin proving to your self-image that you are in fact qualified to be as 
you desire to be, secure its acceptance of this as new truth, and send 
your servo-mechanism hurrying to make it so. 

When you shine your spodight on these Can-Do Indicators and 
consign everything else to the shadows, your winning feeling will be 
reflected back and envelope you in its warmth. 


Two Men, Two Different Feelings 

I once had occasion to observe two men I knew quite well. They had 
remarkably similar backgrounds, education, intelligence, and skill, 
both attempting to master a brand new endeavor at the same time. 
Each was totally unknown to the other, but both observed by me. The 
details of the task being undertaken are unimportant. Suffice it to say 
it represented considerable difficulty, offered up considerable frustra- 
tion, and required considerable patience. 

One of these men said to me, “I’ll never get this. You know, Max, 
all my life, everything’s been difficult for me. I’ve had to do everything 
the hard way. I can’t recall ever getting a break. I just don’t have it in 
me to fight my way through this too.” 

The other fellow said to me, “Max, I’ll tell you something. All my 
life, everything’s been difficult for me. Every single thing I now do 
well, every single thing I can now do effortlessly, and every success I’ve 
had, I started out doing it badly and struggled mightily to get from bad 
to good. If there’s one thing I know exactly how to do, it is to go from 
being a bumbling incompetent to capable. Looks like I’m going to do 
that again with this.” 

Which one of these men do you suppose gave up on this goal and 
walked away empty-handed and unfulfilled? Which do you suppose 
wound up successful? 

This is more than just the old cliche about positive thinking — 
glass half full versus glass half empty. That’s superficial and tends to be 
consciously forced. This is deeper. Foundational. Right there, in the 
self-image. How these two men have interpreted their lives, how they 
feel about themselves. One will see the slightest improvement as 
encouraging proof that he is again progressing as usual, from inept- 



268 Chapter Fourteen 


ness to competence, while the other will see the exact same slight 
improvement as proof that he is mired in struggle so great and chal- 
lenge so unyielding he is not up to the task. 

Any two people can look at any situation and interpret it quite 
differently. That’s why we have Republicans and Democrats, conser- 
vatives and liberals, right-to-life activists and pro-choice activists, and 
so on. There’s room for differences of opinion about you too! If you 
hold an opinion about yourself that is limiting and inhibiting, try to 
step out and examine yourself as an outside analyst, then advocate the 
opposing opinion. The most adept debators can take either side of any 
argument and win. Try it! 


How Science Explains That Winning Feeling 

The science of Cybernetics throws new light on just how the winning 
feeling operates. We have previously shown how electronic servo- 
mechanisms make use of stored data, comparable to human memory, 
to “remember” successful actions and repeat them. 

Skill learning is largely a matter of trial-and-error practice until 
a number of hits, or successful actions, have registered in memory. 

Cybernetic scientists have built what they call an electronic 
mouse, which can learn its way through a maze. The first time 
through the mouse makes numerous errors. It constantly bumps into 
walls and obstructions. But each time it bumps into an obstruction, it 
turns 90 degrees and tries again. If it runs into another wall, it makes 
another turn, and goes forward again. Eventually, after many, many 
errors, stops and turns, the mouse gets through the open space in the 
maze. The electronic mouse, however, remembers the successful turns 
and, the next time through, these successful motions are reproduced, 
or played back, and the mouse goes through the open space quickly 
and efficiently. 

The object of practice is to make repeated trials, constantly cor- 
rect errors, until a hit is scored. When a successful pattern of action is 
performed, the entire action pattern from beginning to end is not only 
stored in what we call conscious memory, but in our very nerves and 
tissues. Folk language can be very intuitive and descriptive. When we 
say, “I had a feeling in my bones that I could do it,” we are not far from 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 269 


right. When Dr. Cary Middlecoff says, “There was something about 
the way I felt that gave me a line to the cup just as clearly as if it had 
been tattooed on my brain” he is, perhaps unknowingly, very aptly 
describing the latest scientific concept of just what happens in the 
human mind when we learn, remember, or imagine. 


How Your Brain Records Success and Failure 

Much research in the workings of the brain has taken place since I 
wrote the original Psycho-Cybernetics book. But this explanation, 
condensed from it, remains helpful in understanding how the winning 
feeling (or failure feeling) comes about: The human cortex is com- 
posed of billions of neurons, each with numerous axons (feelers or 
extension wires), which form synapses (electrical- connections) 
between the neurons. When we think, remember, or imagine, these 
neurons discharge an electrical current that can be measured. When 
we learn something or experience something, a pattern of neurons 
forming a “chain” (or tattooing of a pattern) is set up in brain tissue. 
This pattern is not in the nature of a physical groove, like a groove in 
a record (although that analogy is not far off the mark), but more in 
the nature of an electrical track, the arrangement and electrical con- 
nections between various neurons being somewhat similar to a mag- 
netic pattern recorded on a CD. The same neuron may thus be a part 
of any number of separate and distinct patterns, making the human 
brain’s capacity to learn and remember almost limitless. 

These patterns, of engrams, are stored away in brain tissue for 
future use and are reactivated, or replayed, whenever we remember a 
past experience. 

In short, there is a tattooing, or action pattern of engrams, in 
your brain for every successful action you have ever performed in the 
past. And, if you can somehow furnish the spark to bring that action 
pattern into life, or replay it, it will execute itself, and all you’ll have to 
do is “swing the clubs” and “let nature take its course.” 

When you reactivate successful action patterns out of the past, 
you also reactivate the winning feeling that accompanied them. By the 
same token, if you can recapture that winning feeling, you also evoke 
all the winning actions that accompanied it. View this as a circular 



270 Chapter Fourteen 


process: Feeling begets action, action begets feeling or imagined 
action, especially memory-based imagined action begets feeling, feel- 
ing begets action. Fortunately, it doesn’t matter much where in that 
loop you strike the spark. 


Build Success Patterns into Your Gray Matter 

Dr. Elliott, when President of Harvard, once made a speech on what 
he called “The Habit of Success.” Many failures in elementary 
schools, he said, were due to the fact that students were not given at 
the very beginning a sufficient amount of work at which they could suc- 
ceed, and thus never had an opportunity to develop the “Atmosphere 
of Success,” or what we call the winning feeling. Students, he said, 
who had never experienced success early in their school life, had no 
chance to develop the “habit of success,” the habitual feeling of faith 
and confidence in undertaking new work. He urged that teachers 
arrange work in the early grades so as to ensure that students experi- 
enced success. The work should be well within the ability of the student, 
yet interesting enough to arouse enthusiasm and motivation. These 
small successes, said Dr. Elliott, would give students the “feel of suc- 
cess,” which would be a valuable ally in all future undertakings. 

When a quarterback is injured and removed from the game, and 
the second stringer who’s been warming the bench is rushed in, the 
astute coach tries to give him easy plays with a high probability of suc- 
cess, even if small, in order to establish a sense of success, a rhythm — 
to spark that winning feeling. Rather than having him attempt a pass 
down field or over the middle that might result in a gain of 10, 20, or 
30 yards but is difficult to complete, the play might be a little swing 
pass, almost sideways, that may result in a gain of only 2 or 3 yards but 
has a very high probability of being successfully completed. 

A top salesman I know in the printing industry habitually 
arranges his schedule so that his first two sales calls of each day are in 
“friendly territory.” He visits clients where he knows he will be wel- 
comed, where he writes business repetitively, where there is a high 
likelihood of being asked to bid a job or even immediately take an 
order or, at the very least, he’ll be treated respectfully and courteously. 
Then he moves on to cold calling on possible new accounts where the 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 271 

welcome may not be nearly as warm, or visiting the tough customers 
who are ultra-price-conscious, where he is frequently outbid. He tells 
me he wants a winning feeling already in place before testing his 
patience and persistence. His sales manager says, “Small victories lead 
to big victories.” 

Fred DeLuca, the founder of the Subway sandwich shop chain, a 
champion of micro business launches, counsels, “Make pennies first.” 
It is easier to envision making dollars if you’ve made pennies, easier to 
envision making, thousands if you’ve made hundreds. 

What you might call the small victory process is the natural evo- 
lution of things. Crawl. Stand by holding onto something. Stand 
independently. Toddle forward by holding onto something. Walk. 
Having mastered walking, it’s a bit easier to believe you can ride a 
bicycle. Having ridden a bicycle, it’s easier to picture yourself riding 
a motorcycle. 

We can acquire the habit of success or rhythm of success, we can 
build into our gray matter patterns and feelings of success at any time 
and at any age by following Dr. Elliott’s advice to teachers, the savvy 
coach’s strategy for the inexperienced quarterback, the printing sales 
rep’s trick for starting each day. If we are habitually frustrated by fail- 
ure, we are very apt to acquire habitual feelings of failure, which color 
all new undertakings. But by arranging things so that we can succeed 
in little things, we can build an atmosphere of success that will carry 
over into larger undertakings. We can gradually undertake more diffi- 
cult tasks, and after succeeding in them, be in a position to undertake 
something even more challenging. Success is literally built on success 
and there is much truth in the saying, “Nothing succeeds like success.” 

Obviously, as adults we are eager to speed up this process. To 
accelerate success. To have such a good foundation in place we can 
even trigger our winning feeling on command. The experienced quar- 
terback who has been parked on the bench for weeks needs and wants 
to turn on his winning feeling in an instant, when suddenly needed in 
a game, without requiring the gentle, patient build-up of small victo- 
ries. This acceleration must be created totally through imagination, 
not actuality. In the Theater Of The Mind rather than the arena of 
real experience. Because synthetic and actual experience have virtually 
identical impact, this can be done. 



272 Chapter Fourteen 


How to Play Back Your Own 
Built-In Success Patterns 

Everyone has at some time or another been successful in the past. It 
does not have to have been a big success. It might have been something 
as unimportant as standing up to the school bully and beating him; 
winning a race in grammar school, winning the sack race at the office 
picnic, winning out over a teenage rival for the affections of a girl- 
friend. Or it might be the memory of a successful sale, your most suc- 
cessful business deal, or winning first prize for the best cake at the 
county fair. What you succeeded in is not so important as the feeling of 
success that attended it. All you need is an experience where you suc- 
ceeded in doing what you wanted to, in achieving what you set out to 
achieve, and something that brought you some feeling of satisfaction. 

Go back in memory and relive those successful experiences. In 
your imagination revive the entire picture in as much detail as you can. 
In your mind’s eye, see not only the main event but all the little inci- 
dental things that accompanied your success. What sounds were 
there? What about your environment? What else was happening 
around you at the time? What objects were present? What time of 
year was it? Were you cold or hot? And so forth. The more detailed 
you can make it, the better. If you can remember in sufficient detail 
just what happened when you were successful at some time in the past, 
you will find yourself feeling just as you felt then. Try particularly to 
remember your feelings at the time. If you can remember your feel- 
ings from the past, they will be reactivated in the present. You will find 
yourself feeling self-confident, because self-confidence is built on 
memories of past successes. 

Now, after arousing this general feeling of success, apply it in 
your thoughts to the important sale, conference, speech, business, golf 
tournament, rodeo competition, whatever you are engaged in now. 
Use your creative imagination to picture to yourself just how you 
would act and just how you would feel if you had already succeeded. 


Positive and Constructive Worry 

Mentally, begin to play with the idea of complete and inevitable suc- 
cess. Don’t force yourself. Don’t attempt to coerce your mind. Don’t 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 273 


try to use effort or willpower to bring about the desired conviction. 
Just do what you do when you worry, only “worry” about a positive 
goal and a desirable outcome, rather than about a negative goal and an 
undesirable ontcome. 

Don’t begin by trying to force yourself to have absolute faith in 
the desired success. This is too big a bite for you to mentally digest at 
first. Use “gradualness.” Begin to think about the desired end result as 
you do when you worry about the future. When you worry, you do not 
attempt to convince yourself that the outcome will be undesirable. 
Instead, you begin gradually. You usually begin with “suppose.” “Just 
suppose such and such a thing happens,” you mentally say to yourself. 
You repeat this idea over and over to yourself. You play with it. Next 
comes the idea of possibility. “Well, after all,” you say, “such a thing im- 
possible.” It could happen. Next, comes mental imagery. You begin to 
picture to yourself all the various negative possibilities. You play these 
imaginative pictures over and over to yourself, adding small details 
and refinements. As she pictures become more and more real to you, 
appropriate feelings begin to manifest themselves, just as if the imag- 
ined outcome had already happened. And this is the way that fear and 
anxiety develop. 


How to Cultivate Faith and Courage 

Faith and courage are developed in exactly the same way. Only your 
goals are different. If you are going to spend time in worry, why not 
worry constructively? Begin by outlining and defining to yourself the 
most desirable possible outcome. Begin with your “suppose.” 
“Suppose the best possible outcome did actually come about?” Next, 
remind yourself that after all this could .happen. Not that it will hap- 
pen, at this stage, but only that it could. Remind yourself that, after all, 
such a good and desirable outcome is possible. 

You can mentally accept and digest these gradual doses of opti- 
mism and faith. After having thought of the desired end result as a def- 
inite possibility, begin to imagine what the desirable outcome would 
be like. Go over these mental pictures and delineate details and refine- 
ments. Play them over and over to yourself. As your mental images 
become more detailed, as they are repeated over and over again, you 



274 Chapter Fourteen 


will find that more appropriate feelings are beginning to manifest them- 
selves, just as if the favorable outcome had already happened. This 
time the appropriate feelings will be those of faith, self-confidence, 
courage — or all of them wrapped up into one package, That Winning 
Feeling. 


Don't Take Counsel of Your Fears 

General George Patton, the hell-for-leather, “Old Blood and Guts” 
general of World War II fame, was once asked if he ever experienced 
fear before a battle. Yes, he said, he often experienced fear just before 
an important engagement and sometimes during a battle, but, he 
added, “I never take counsel of my fears.” 

If you experience negative failure feelings — fear and anxiety — 
before an important undertaking, as everyone does from time to time, 
it should not be taken as a sure sign that you will fail. It all depends on 
how you react to them and what attitude you take toward them. If you 
listen to them, obey them, and take counsel of them, you will proba- 
bly perform badly. But this need not be true. 

First of all, it is important to understand that failure feelings — 
fear, anxiety, lack of self-confidence — do not spring from a heavenly 
oracle. They are not written in the stars. They are not holy gospel. 
Nor are they intimations of a set and decided fate that means that fail- 
ure is decreed and decided. They originate from your own mind. They 
are indicative only of attitudes of mind within you, not of external facts 
that are rigged against you. They mean only that you are underesti- 
mating your own abilities, overestimating and exaggerating the nature 
of the difficulty before you, and that you are reactivating memories of 
past failures rather than memories of past successes. That is all that 
they mean and all that they signify. They do not pertain to or repre- 
sent the truth concerning future events, but only your own mental 
attitude about the future event. 

Knowing this, you are free to accept or reject these negative fail- 
ure feelings, to obey them and take counsel of them, or to ignore their 
advice and go ahead. Moreover, you are in a position to use them for 
your own benefit. \ 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 275 


Accept Negative Feelings as a Challenge 

If we react to negative feelings aggressively and positively, they 
become challenges that automatically arouse more power and more 
ability within us. The ideas of difficulty, threat, and menace arouse 
additional strength within us if we react to them aggressively rather 
than passively. In the last chapter we saw that a certain amount of 
excitement, if interpreted correctly and employed correctly, helps 
rather than hinders performance. It all depends on the individual 
and his or her attitudes, whether negative feelings are used as assets 
or liabilities. 


React Aggressively to Your Own Negative Advice 

Everyone has known individuals who can be discouraged and defeated 
by the advice from others that “you can’t do it.” On the other hand, 
there are people who rise to the occasion and become more deter- 
mined than ever to succeed when given the same advice. An associate 
of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser’s said, “If you don’t want Henry to do 
a thing, you had better not make the mistake of telling him it can’t be 
done, or that he can’t do it — for he will then do it or bust.” 

It is not only possible, but entirely practicable, to react in the same 
aggressive, positive manner to the “negative advice” of our own feel- 
ings as we can and should when the negative advice comes from others. 


Overcome Evil with Good 

Feelings cannot be directly controlled by willpower. They cannot be 
voluntarily made to order or turned on and off like a faucet. If they 
cannot be commanded, however, they can be wooed. If they cannot be 
controlled by a direct act of will, they can be controlled indirectly. 

A bad feeling is not dispelled by conscious effort or willpower. It 
can be dispelled, however, by another feeling. If we cannot drive out a 
negative feeling by making a frontal assault on it, we can accomplish 
the same result by substituting a positive feeling. Remember that feel- 
ing follows imagery. Feeling coincides with, and is appropriate to, 



276 Chapter Fourteen 


what our nervous system accepts as real or the truth about environ- 
ment. Whenever we find ourselves experiencing undesirable feelings, 
we should not concentrate on the undesirable feeling, even to the 
extent of driving it out. Instead, we should immediately concentrate 
on positive imagery, on filling the mind with wholesome, positive, 
desirable images, imaginations, and memories. If we do this, the neg- 
ative feelings take care of themselves. They simply evaporate. We 
develop new feeling-tones appropriate to the new imagery. 

If, on the other hand, we concentrate only on driving out or 
attacking worry thoughts, we necessarily must concentrate on nega- 
tives. And even if we are successful in driving out one worry thought, 
a new one, or even several new ones, are likely to rush in, since the 
general mental atmosphere is still negative. Jesus warned us about 
sweeping the mind clean of one demon, only to have seven new ones 
move in, if we left the house empty. He also advised us not to resist 
evil, but to overcome evil with good. 


The Substitution Method of Curing Worry 

Dr. Matthew Chappell, a modem psychologist, recommends exactly 
the same thing in his book How to Control Worry. We are worriers 
because we practice worrying until we become adept at it, says Dr. 
Chappell. We habitually indulge in negative imagery out of the past 
and in anticipating the future. This worry creates tension. The worrier 
then makes an effort to stop worrying and is caught in a vicious cycle. 
Effort increases tension. Tension provides a worrying atmosphere. The 
only cure for worry, he says, is to make a habit out of immediately sub- 
stituting pleasant, wholesome, mental images, for unpleasant worry 
images. Each time you find yourself worrying, use this as a signal to 
immediately fill the mind with pleasant mental pictures out of the past 
or in anticipating pleasant future experiences. In time worry will defeat 
itself because it becomes a stimulus for practicing antiworrying. The 
worrier’s job, says Dr. Chappell, is not to overcome some particular 
source of worry, but to change mental habits. As long as the mind is set 
or geared in a passive, defeatist, “I hope nothing happens” sort of atti- 
tude, there will always be something to worry about. 

When I was a medical student I remember being called on by the 
professor to orally answer questions on the subject of pathology. 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 277 


Somehow, I was filled with fear and anxiety when I stood up to face 
the other students, and I couldn’t answer the questions properly. Yet, 
on other occasions, when I looked into the microscope at a slide and 
answered the typewritten questions before me, I was a different per- 
son. I was relaxed, confident, and sure of myself because I knew my 
subject. I had that winning feeling and did very well. 

As the semester progressed I took stock of myself and when I 
stood up to answer questions I pretended I didn’t see an audience but 
was looking through a microscope. I was relaxed and substituted that 
winning feeling for the negative feeling when quizzed orally. At the end 
of the semester I did very well in both oral and written examinations. 

The negative feeling had finally become a sort of bell that cre- 
ated a conditioned reflex to^ arouse that winning feeling. 

Today, 1 lecture and speak with ease at any gathering in any part 
of the world, because I am relaxed and know what I am talking about 
when I do speak. More than that, I bring others into the conversation 
and make them feel relaxed too. 


The Choice Is Up to You 

Within you is a vast mental storehouse of past experiences and feel- 
ings, both failures and successes. Like inactive recordings on tape, 
these experiences and feelings are recorded on the neural engrams of 
your gray matter. There are recordings of stories with happy endings, 
and recordings of stories with unhappy endings. One is as true as the 
other. One is as real as the other. The choice is up to you as to which 
you select for playback. 

Another interesting scientific finding about these engrams is that 
they can be changed or modified, somewhat as a tape recording may 
be changed by dubbing in additional material, or by replacing an old 
recording with a new one. 

These recordings in the human brain tend to change slightly 
each time they are played back. They take on some of the tone and 
temper of our present mood, thinking and attitudes toward them. We 
now know that not only does the past influence the present, but that 
the present clearly influences the past. In other words, we are neither 
doomed nor damned by the past. Our present thinking, our present 
mental habits, our attitudes towards past experiences, and our atti- 



278 Chapter Fourteen 


tudes toward the future — all have an influence on old recordings. The 
old can be changed, modified, replaced by our present thinking. 


Old Recordings Can Be Changed 

Another interesting finding is that the more a given recording or 
engram is activated or replayed, the more potent it becomes. The per- 
manence of engrams is derived from synaptic efficacy (the efficiency 
and ease of connections between the individual neurons that make up 
the chain) and further that synaptic efficiency improves with use and 
diminishes with disuse. Here again, we have good scientific ground for 
forgetting and ignoring those unhappy experiences from the past and 
concentrating on the happy and pleasant. By so doing, we strengthen 
those engrams having to do with success and happiness and weaken 
those having to do with failure and unhappiness. 


How We Manufacture Feelings or "State" 

When a family member or friend dies, we recall many past memories 
involving this person. We tend to set aside most of the bad memories 
and not only recall, but improve on and magnify the good ones. An 
uncle who was often sullen and distant and hypercritical but occasion- 
ally warm and witty is transformed into the life of the party and a great 
encourager who will be sadly missed at every future family occasion. A 
sister you were quite content to see only two or three times a year at 
holidays and never missed or thought of much in between is now a 
cofifidante you’ll miss talking to everyday.. This is all part of the 
mourning feeling. It is manufactured by choosing to replay only cer- 
tain recordings, to completely forget about others, and even to mod- 
ify the recordings played. History is literally rewritten to permit the 
mourning feeling we believe to be appropriate, based on everything 
programmed into our own self-image about the kind of person we are 
and how we should behave in these circumstances. 

I remember attending a funeral where the brother of the 
deceased, who had been estranged from his brother for years follow- 
ing a very bitter war over the family business, stood up and spoke for 
nearly fifteen minutes, delivering an emotionally moving eulogy that 



How to Get and Keep That Winning Feeling 279 


had the halo glowing brightly over the coffin and left no dry eyes in 
the house. A few weeks later, I encountered him in a neighborhood 
coffee shop and we sat down together to talk. I gingerly said, “Bill, I 
know all about the bad feelings between you and your brother and I 
wonder, how did you find it in you to be so gracious at his memorial 
ceremony?” 

His answer reveals the chief secret to how we manufacture our 
feelings! He answered, “I’m the kind of person who never speaks ill of 
the dead.” 

The phrase “I am the kind of person who [fill in the bank]” is 
incredibly revealing and incredibly powerful. It reveals what is at the 
core, not the circumference, of the self-image, to which all other 
thought, feeling, action, and outcome must conform. It also reveals 
exactly how you can lock in and assure the emergence of a winning 
feeling whenever it is appropriate. 


Mental Training Exercise 

Change negative self-talk, the voice of the Automatic Failure Mechanism, 
to a positive affirmation: “I am the kind of person who...” Repeat the affir- 
mation as a personal mantra until it becomes an automatic response to any 
stiver of self-doubt that slips through the door! Here are a few examples: 

I am the kind of person who . . . 

effectively plans the day ahead, sets goals, and accomplishes them, 
listens carefully, then communicates confidently and persuasively, 
takes the initiative in solving problems and suggesting ideas, 
stays calm under pressure. 

prefers fresh fruit and other healthy foods to “junk food.” 




CHAPTER FIFTEEN 


More Years of Life and 
More Life in Your Years 

We age not by years but by events 
and our emotional reactions to them. 

— Dr. Arnold Hutschnecker 


T 


he search for the fountain of youth ... Does 
every human being have a built-in fountain of 
youth? Can the Success Mechanism keep you young? 

Does the Failure Mechanism accelerate the “aging process”? 

Woody Allen said, “I do not want to achieve immortality through 
my work. I want to achieve immortality by not dying.” At my age, I 
identify with his statement. In fact, I’d gladly trade away whatever 
legacy I have thanks to my Psycho-Cybernetics work for another 
decade of comparative youth. But I have lived a very vibrant, healthy, 
interesting, and rewarding life without significant loss of vitality, activ- 
ity, or acuity in my later years, so I have no complaint. I believe I have 
done so in large part by aggressively working on my psychological 
health and letting it take care of my physical health. 

I posit that the role of emotional well-being in antiaging or 
longevity medicine will only expand and grow and become more 
accepted, respected and prominent in the years to come. 


Truths That Cannot Yet Be Proven 
Are Nonetheless Useful 

William James once said that everyone, scientists included, develops 
his own over-beliefs concerning known facts, which the facts them- 


280 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 281 


selves do not justify. As a practical measure, these “over-beliefs” are 
not only permissible, but necessary. Our assumption of a future goal, 
which sometimes we cannot see, is what dictates our present actions 
and our “practical conduct.” Columbus had to assume that a great land 
mass lay to the westward before he could discover it. Otherwise he 
would not have sailed at all and, having sailed, would not have known 
whether to set his course to the south, east, north, or west. 

Scientific research is possible only because of faith in assump- 
tions. Research experiments are not helter-skelter or aimless, but 
directed and goal-oriented. The scientist must first set up a hypothet- 
ical truth, a hypothesis based not on fact but on implications, before 
being able to know which experiments to make or where to look for 
facts that may prove or disprove the hypothetical truth. 

In this last chapter I want to share with you some of my own 
over-beliefs, hypotheses, and philosophy, not as a M.D., but as a man. 
As Dr. Hans Selye has said, certain “truths” cannot be used by medi- 
cine, but can be used by the patient. 


Life Force: The Secret of Healing and the 
Secret of Youth 

I believe that the physical body, including the physical brain and nerv- 
ous system, is machine-like, composed of numerous smaller mecha- 
nisms, all purposeful, or goal-directed. I do not believe, however, that 
a human is a machine. I believe that the essence of humans is that 
' which animates this machine, that which inhabits the machine, directs 
and controls it, and uses it as a vehicle. Humans are not machines, any 
more than electricity is the wire over which it flows or the motor that 
it turns. I believe that the essence of humanity is extraphysical. 

For many years individual scientists — psychologists, physiolo- 
gists, biologists — have suspected that there was some sort of universal 
“energy” or vitality that ran the human machine. They also suspected 
that the amount of this energy available and the way it was utilized 
explained why some individuals were more resistant to disease than 
others, why some individuals aged faster than others, and why some 
hardy individuals lived longer than others. It was also fairly obvious 
that the source of this basic energy — whatever it might be — was some- 



282 Chapter Fifteen 


thing other than the surface energy we obtain from the food we eat. 
Caloric energy does not explain why one individual can snap back 
quickly from a serious operation, withstand long continued stress sit- 
uations, or outlive another. We speak of such persons as having a 
“strong constitution.” 

The strong constitution exhibited by individuals who live long 
and live well seems linked to elements over which we have consider- 
able control, not the least of which is the never-ending setting and 
resetting of goals, so that we have something meaningful to live for. 

A very famous professional speaker, on the circuit for three 
decades, was finally beginning to feel burn-out, not so much toward 
the speaking itself as to the grind of incessant travel with all its inher- 
ent frustrations, the endless blur of nights in innocuous hotel rooms. 
Friends mentioned that they could see the travel was aging him. He 
was on the verge of quitting his profession, which he actually loved 
and arguably required to have meaning and purpose. About the same 
time, probably in anticipation of retirement, he had taken up golf and 
became fascinated with, even addicted to the game, and reasonably 
adept at it. One day, on yet another lengthy flight, a new goal popped 
into his head: to play on at least one famous golf course in every state 
of the union. He began mulling this idea over in his imagination. 
Seeing himself being photographed after hitting a hole in one at the 
famously difficult Pebble Beach: Chuckling at being in the real rough 
on a golf course in rural Alaska. 

The mulling over became increasingly serious, until he found 
himself thinking about it often over the ensuing days. He decided to 
test it by taking his clubs on his next ten-day trip and scheduling 
rounds of golf between his engagements. Not surprisingly, he found 
himself looking forward to the next day’s travel rather than dreading 
it. Locked on this new target, he has uncovered a whole new level of 
passion and energy for securing speaking engagements in locations 
where there are golf courses he wants to play. He has not only 
extended and breathed new life into his career, he has quite likely 
extended and breathed new life into his life. 

This occurred some six or seven years ago and, as of this writing, 
at age 73, this speaker/golfer is going strong. It seems he has the life 
force or- elan vital of a much younger man. 

Are you older or younger than your chronological years? The 
counting itself is arguably arbitrary. After all, if our calendars put 1 5 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 283 


months instead of 12 months into each year, you’d be celebrating a 
different year’s birthday this time around. That smaller number might 
very well convince your self-image of a different truth about your age, 
and you might very well feel and act differently. We all know people 
who are 35 going on 65, and 65 going on 35. 1 suppose something less 
extreme is desirable. But regardless of pondering about age itself, we 
all seek to tap more life force. 


Science Discovers the Life Force 

This life force was established as a scientific fact by Dr. Hans Selye of 
the University of Montreal. Since 1936 Dr. Selye has studied the 
problems of stress. Clinically and in numerous laboratory experiments 
and studies, Dr. Selye has proved the existence of a basic life force, 
which he calls “adaptation energy.” Throughout life, from the cradle 
to the grave, we are daily called on to adapt to stress situations. Even 
the process of living itself constitutes stress — or continual adaptation. 
Dr. Selye has found that the human body contains various defense 
mechanisms (local adaptation syndromes or LAS), which defend 
against specific stress, and a general defense mechanism (general adap- 
tation syndrome or GAS), which defends against nonspecific stress. 
“Stress” includes anything that requires adaptation or adjustment, 
such as extremes of heat or cold, invasion by disease germs, emotional 
tension, the wear and tear of living, or the so-called aging process. 

“The term adaptation energy ,” says Dr. Selye, “has been coined for 
that which is consumed during continued adaptive work, to indicate 
that it is something different from the caloric energy we receive from 
food, but this is only a name, and we still have no precise concept of 
what this energy might be. Further research along these fines would 
seem to hold great promise, since here we appear to touch upon the 
fundamentals of aging.” (Hans Selye, The Stress of Life) 

Dr. Selye has written twelve books and hundreds of articles 
explaining his clinical studies and his stress concept of health and dis- 
ease. It would be a disservice to him for me to try to prove his case 
here. Suffice it to say that his findings are recognized by medical 
experts the world over. And if you wish to learn more of the work that 
led to his findings, I suggest that you read Dr. Selye’s book written for 
laymen, The Stress of Life. 



284 Chapter Fifteen 


To me, the really important thing that Dr. Selye has proved is 
that the body itself is equipped to maintain itself in health, to cure 
itself of disease, and to remain youthful by successfully coping with 
those factors that bring about what we call old age. Not only has he 
proved that the body is capable of curing itself, but that in the final 
analysis that is the only sort of cure there is. Drugs, surgery, and vari- 
ous therapies work largely by either stimulating the body’s own 
defense mechanism when it is deficient, or toning it down when it is 
excessive. The adaptation energy itself is what finally overcomes the 
disease, heals the wound or burn, or wins out over other stressors. 


Is This the Secret of Youth? 

This elan vital, life force, or adaptation energy — call it what you will — 
manifests itself in many ways. The energy that heals a wound is the same 
energy that keeps all our other body organs functioning. When this 
energy is at an optimum all our organs function better, we feel good, 
wounds heal faster, we are more resistant to disease, we recover from 
any sort of stress faster, we feel and act younger, and in fact biologically 
we are younger. It is thus possible to correlate the various manifesta- 
tions of this life force and to assume that whatever works to make more of 
this life force available to us, whatever opens to us a greater influx of life 
stuff, whatever helps us utilize it better — helps us “all over.” 

We may conclude that whatever nonspecific therapy aids wounds 
to heal faster might also make us feel younger. Whatever nonspecific 
therapy helps us overcome aches and pains might, for example, 
improve eyesight. And this is precisely the direction that medical 
research is now taking and that appears most promising. 


Science's Search for the Elixir of Youth 

In the original edition of this book, in this chapter, I wrote at length 
about some medical research and promising “medical miracles” com- 
ing to the forefront at the time (1960). I think you would find it inter- 
esting to revisit those comments, in light of what has actually 
transpired now, more than forty years later. What is unwaveringly 
true, regardless of changes in the specifics, is that the search for the 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 285 

elusive fountain of youth never ends. Today, human growth hormone 
(HGH) injections are much the rage among Hollywood celebrities, 
wealthy executives, and aging athletes, and many over-the-counter 
nostrums purporting to mimic the effects of these injections populate 
the shelves of health food stores and pharmacies alike. Perhaps you’ve 
read about or use DHEA nutritional supplements, testosterone 
patches. On and on. 

Diet, exercise, certain herbal and nutritional supplements, as well 
as drug therapies all have influence, and there will undoubtedly be 
many exciting discoveries and breakthroughs to come. We have, of 
course, made huge strides in medically extending physical life, but are 
less successful regarding quality of life. 

I have been more intrigued with psychological life extension and 
improvement. In bridging the two — physical and psychological — I 
once searched for other factors, or common denominators, that might 
explain why the surgical wounds of some patients heal faster than oth- 
ers. The medicine used for this purpose worked better for some peo- 
ple than for others. This in itself was food for thought, because the 
results obtained in mice were practically uniform. Ordinarily, mice do 
not worry or become frustrated. Frustration and emotional stress can 
be induced in mice, however, by immobilizing them so that they can- 
not have freedom of movement. Immobilization frustrates any animal. 
Laboratory experiments have shown that under the emotional stress of 
frustration, very minor wounds may heal faster, but any real injury is 
made worse and healing sometimes made impossible. It has also been 
established that the adrenal glands react in very much the same way to 
emotional stress and to the stress of physical tissue damage. 


How the Failure Mechanism Injures You 

Thus it might be said that frustration and emotional stress (those fac- 
tors we have previously described as the failure mechanism) literally 
add insult to injury whenever the physical body suffers damage. If the 
physical damage is very slight, some emotional stress may stimulate 
the defense mechanism into activity, but if there is any real or actual 
physical injury, emotional stress adds to it and makes it worse. This 
knowledge gives us reason to pause and think. If aging is brought 
about by a using up of our adaptation energy, as most experts in the 



286 Chapter Fifteen 


field seem to think, then our indulging ourselves in the negative com- 
ponents of the Failure Mechanism can literally make us old before our 
time by using up that energy faster. 


What Is the Secret of Rapid Healers? 

Among my human patients who did not receive the serum, some indi- 
viduals responded to surgery just as well as the average patient who did 
receive it. Differences in age, diet, pulse rate, blood pressure, etc. sim- 
ply did not explain why. There was, however, one easily recognizable 
characteristic that all the rapid healers had in common. 

They were optimistic, cheerful positive thinkers who not only 
expected to get well in a hurry, but invariably had some compelling 
reason or need to get well quick. They had something to look forward 
to and not only something to live for, but something to get well for. 
“I’ve got to get back on the job.” “I’ve got to get out of here so I can 
accomplish my goal.” 

In short, they epitomized those characteristics and attitudes that 
I have previously described as the Success Mechanism. 


Thoughts Bring Organic as Well as 
Functional Changes 

We do know this much: Mental attitudes can influence the body’s 
healing mechanisms. Placebos or sugar pills (capsules containing inert 
ingredients) have long been a medical mystery. They contain no med- 
icine of any kind that could bring about a cure. Yet when placebos are 
given to a control group in order to test the effectiveness of a new 
drug, the group receiving the phony pills nearly always shows some 
improvement, and quite often as much as the group receiving the 
medicine. Students receiving placebos actually showed more immu- 
nization against colds than the group receiving a new cold medicine. 

During World War II the Royal Canadian Navy tested a new 
drug for seasickness. Group 1 received the new drug, and Group 2 
received sugar pills. Of those groups, only 13% suffered from seasick- 
ness, while 30% of Group 3, which received nothing, got sick. 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 287 


Visible Results from Invisible Medicine 

Patients receiving placebos must not be told that the treatment is phony, 
if it is to be effective. They believe they are receiving legitimate medi- 
cine that will bring about a cure. To write off placebos as merely due 
to suggestions explains nothing. More reasonable is the conclusion 
that in taking the “medicine,” some sort of expectation of improve- 
ment is aroused, a goal-image of health is set up in the mind, and the 
creative mechanism works through the body’s own healing mechanism 
to accomplish the goal. 

The so-called placebo effect is now common knowledge, a pow- 
erful form of autosuggestion aided and abetted by convincing physical 
props. But this is more than another set of evidence that the servo- 
mechanism is unable to distinguish synthetic from real; this is evi- 
dence that the servo-mechanism can even bring about restorative 
physical changes without the assistance of actual medicine! 


Do We Sometimes Think Ourselves into Old Age? 

We may do something very similar but in reverse, when we uncon- 
sciously expect to get old at a certain age. 

At the 1951 International Gerontological Congress at St. Louis, 
Dr. Raphael Ginzber'g, of Cherokee, Iowa, stated that the traditional 
idea that a person is supposed to grow old and useless around seventy 
is responsible in large measure for persons’ growing old at that age, 
and that in a more enlightened future we might regard seventy as mid- 
dle age. We are now, in 2001, rapidly approaching the time and place 
where 50 replaces 40 as life’s midpoint, and 70 or even 80 will be 
looked upon as 60 was in 1950. 

It begs the chicken-egg debate: Which comes first, changing 
reality governing expectations, or expectations governing changing 
reality? In truth it is both, and we can move toward the targets of 
longer life and enhanced quality of life from either direction. 

At least two ways suggest themselves as to how we may think our- 
selves into old age. In expecting to grow old at a given age we may 
unconsciously set up a negative goal image for our servo-mechanism to 
accomplish. Or, in expecting old age and fearing its onset, we may 
unwittingly do those very things necessary to bring it about. We begin 



288 Chapter Fifteen 


to taper off on both physical and mental activity. Cutting out practically 
all vigorous physical activity, we tend to lose some of the flexibility of 
our joints. Lack of exercise causes our capillaries to constrict and virtu- 
ally disappear, and the supply of life-giving blood through our tissues is 
drastically curtailed. Vigorous exercise is necessary to dilate the capil- 
laries that feed all body tissues and remove waste products. Dr. Selye 
has cultivated animal cell cultures within a living animal’s body by 
implanting a hollow tube. For some unknown reason biologically new 
and young cells form inside this tube. Untended, however, they die 
within a month. However, if the fluid in the tube is washed daily, and 
waste products removed, the cells live indefinitely. They remain eter- 
nally young and neither age nor die. Dr. Selye suggests that this may 
be the mechanism of aging and that, if so, old age can be postponed by 
slowing down the rate of waste production or by helping the system to 
get rid of waste. In the human body the capillaries are the channels 
through which waste is removed. It has definitely been established that 
lack of exercise and inactivity literally “dries up” the capillaries. 


Expectation and Engagement Means Life 

When we decide to curtail mental and social activities, we stultify 
ourselves. We become set in our ways, bored, and give up our great 
expectations. 

I have no doubt but that you could take a healthy man of 30 and 
within five years make an old man of him if you could somehow con- 
vince him that he was now old, that all physical activity was danger- 
ous, and that mental activity was futile. If you could induce him to sit 
in a rocking chair all day, give up all his dreams for the future, give up 
all interest in new ideas, and regard himself as washed up, worthless, 
unimportant and nonproductive, I am sure that you could experimen- 
tally create an old man. 

Dr. John Schindler, in his book How to Live 365 Days a Year 
(Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), pointed out what he 
believed to be six basic needs that every human being has: 

1. The Need for Love 

2. The Need for Security 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 289 


3. The Need for Creative Expression 

4. The Need for Recognition 

5. The Need for New Experiences 

6. The Need for Self-Esteem 

To these six, I would add another basic need: the need for more life , 
the need to look forward to tomorrow and to the future with gladness 
and anticipation. You might think of this as expectation and engage- 
ment. 


Look Forward and Live 

This brings me to another of my over-beliefs. 

I believe that life itself is adaptive, that life is not just an end in 
itself, but a means to an end. Life is one of the means we are privileged 
to use in various ways to achieve important goals. We can see, this 
principle operating in all forms of life, from the amoeba to man. The 
polar bear, for example, needs a thick fur coat to survive in a cold envi- 
ronment. It needs protective coloration to stalk game and hide from 
enemies. The life force acts as a means to these ends and provides the 
polar bear with a white fur coat. These adaptations of life to deal with 
problems in the environment are almost infinite, and there is no point 
in continuing to enumerate them. I merely want to point out a princi- 
ple in order to draw a conclusion. 

If life adapts itself in so many varied forms to act as a means 
toward an end, is it not reasonable to assume that if we place ourselves 
in the sort of goal-situation where more life is needed, that we will 
receive more life? 

If we think of humans as goal strivers, we can think of adaptation 
energy or Life Force as the propelling fuel or energy that drives us for- 
ward toward our goal. A stored automobile needs no gasoline in the tank. 
And a goal striver with no goals doesn’t really need much Life Force. 

I believe that we establish this need by looking forward to the 
future with joy and anticipation, when we expect to enjoy tomorrow, 
and, above all, when we have something important (to us) to do and 
somewhere to go. 



290 Chapter Fifteen 


Create a Need for More Life 

Creativity is certainly one of the characteristics of the Life Force. And 
the essence of creativity is a looking forward toward a goal. Creative 
people need more Life Force. And actuary tables seem to confirm that 
they get it. As a group, creative workers — research scientists, inven- 
tors, painters, writers, philosophers — not only live longer but remain 
productive longer than noncreative workers. Michelangelo did some 
of his best painting when past 80; Goethe wrote Faust when past 80; 
Edison was still inventing at 90; Picasso, past 75, dominated the art 
world; Wright at 90 was still considered the most creative architect; 
Shaw was still writing plays at 90. 

One of the most visible poster boys for eternal youth is enter- 
tainment industry entrepreneur, Dick Clark. People marvel and joke 
about his boyish look, his never seeming to age. Is he drinking some 
water or taking some pill we don’t know about? No, he is not. Is there 
some genetic edge involved? Probably, but that alone cannot explain 
the phenomenon we see. If you learn much about Mr. Clark, you will 
discover he is one of the busiest, most diversified, most innovative 
impresarios in all of the entertainment industry. He has, as they say, 
many irons in the fire, with no sign or suggestion of cutting back. 

This is not to suggest youthfulness requires continued work until 
you are carried out of your workplace by your pall bearers. For some 
people, any form of retirement could be anathema. But the secret is 
positive expectations and engagement, not necessarily in the same 
vocation you have built your career in or at the same pace. There are 
endless options for staying out of the proverbial rocking chair. 

I began my career as a writer and lecturer on Psycho-Cybernetics 
at age 61, after already having a long, varied, and colorful career. I 
remained active in both arenas for quite some time, sometimes per- 
forming a surgery in New York during the day, then flying to Los 
Angeles for a lecture that same night. At an age when too many men 
and women are thinking of stopping and fossilizing, I began anew, 
doing something that fascinated me. In my case, I have been very for- 
tunate, as it has led to published books,, lecturing, and meeting and 
corresponding with many fascinating people, fans of Psycho- 
Cybernetics, including Hollywood personalities like Jane Fonda, civic 
leaders like Nancy Reagan, even Salvador Dali, who presented me 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 291 


with his own original painting depicting the essence of Psycho- 
Cybernetics. But even if my “work” had not led to this kind of public 
acceptance and recognition, I would still be a happy and fulfilled man, 
engaged in activity meaningful to me and to others, setting and pro- 
gressing toward goals. There is absolutely no rational reason that you 
cannot do the same. 

This is why I tell my patients to develop a nostalgia for the 
future, instead of for the past, if they want to remain productive and 
vital. Develop an enthusiasm for life, create a need for more life, and 
you will receive more life. 

Have you ever wondered why so many actors and actresses man- 
age to look far younger than their years, and present a youthful 
appearance at age 50 and beyond? Could it not be that these people 
have a need to look young, that they are interested in maintaining their 
appearance, and simply do not give up the goal of staying young, as 
most of us do when we reach the middle years? 

“We age, not by years, but by events and our emotional reactions 
to them,” says Dr. Arnold A. Hutschnecker. “The physiologist Rubner 
observed that peasant women who work as cheap labor in the fields in 
some parts of the world are given to early withering of the face, but 
they suffer no loss of physical strength and endurance. Here is an 
example of specialization in aging. We can reason that these women 
have relinquished their competitive role as women. They have 
resigned themselves to the life of the working bee, which heeds no 
beauty of face but only physical competence.” (Arnold A. 
Hutschnecker, The Will to Live, rev. ed., Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 
Prentice Hall, Inc.) 

Hutschnecker also comments on how widowhood ages some 
women, but not others. “If the widow feels that her life has come to 
an end and she has nothing to live for, her attitude gives outward evi- 
dence — in her gradual withering, her graying hair. Another woman, 
actually older, begins to blossom. She may enter into the competition 
for a new husband, or she may embark on a career in business, or she 
may do no more than busy herself with an interest for which perhaps 
she has not had the leisure until now.” (Ibid.) Faith, courage, interest, 
optimism, looking forward bring us new life and more life. Futility, 
pessimism, frustration, living in the past are not only characteristic of 
old age; they contribute to it. 



292 Chapter Fifteen 


Retire from a Job, but Never Retire from Life 

Many people go downhill rapidly after retirement. They feel that their 
active productive life is completed and their job is done. They have 
nothing to look forward to; they become bored, inactive, and they 
often suffer a loss of self-esteem because they feel left out of things- — 
not important anymore. They develop a self-image of uselessness, 
worthlessness, being “worn out,” a hanger-on. And a great many die 
within a year or so after retirement. 

It is not retiring from a job that kills these people; it is retiring 
from life. It is the feeling of uselessness, of being washed up, the 
dampening of self-esteem, courage, and self-confidence, which our 
present attitudes of society help to encourage. We need to know that 
these are outmoded and unscientific concepts. Some fifty years ago 
psychologists thought that man’s mental power peaked at the age of 
25, and then began a gradual decline. The latest findings show that a 
man reaches his peak mentally somewhere around the age of 3 5 and 
maintains the same level until well past 70. Such nonsense as “you can’t 
teach an old dog new tricks” still persists despite the fact that numer- 
ous researchers have shown that learning ability is about as good at 70 
as it is at 17. 

We are always about pluses and minuses. The young person 
embarking on a business career may have the advantages of great 
physical energy and stamina, a wide-open and uncluttered mind, 
intense curiosity, adventurousness, and a sharp and facile mind. A 
much older person competing in the same business arena may have far 
less physical stamina and may wrestle with certain physical difficulties; 
he or she may have certain built-up biases that block creativity, and 
may be risk-averse and conservative, less mentally quick. However, the 
young buck lacks experience, emotional maturity, confidence built on 
competence, and credibility with others. The elder statesman has 
much more relevant experience — in some cultures still revered as wis- 
dom — to draw on in making important decisions and in recovering 
from mistakes. Each has a different fist of pluses and minuses. 

In business, if either is especially astute, they will counter their 
minuses with associates or advisors, much like a president constructs a 
cabinet. Lacking access to such an advisory committee made up of 
actual persons, a person can develop a “roundtable” in his or her own 
fertile imagination and solicit advice from any expert. 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 293 


My point is that, at any age, even confronted with any adversity, 
tragedy, handicap, illness, people can determine how they are going to 
respond and, with regard to the symptoms and exhibitions of aging, 
their determined emotional responses may have at least as much to do 
with their actual life experience of the moment as their biological cal- 
endar or genetics or medicine. If you accept this to any great degree, 
then you should have additional motivation for mastering the concepts 
and techniques of Psycho-Cybernetics, to stay younger than your years. 


Why I Believe in Miracles 

While confessing my over-beliefs, I might as well make a clean 
breast of it and say that I believe in miracles. Medical science does not 
pretend to know why the various mechanisms within the body per- 
form as they do. We know a little bit about the how and something 
about what happens. We can describe what happens and how the 
mechanisms function when the body heals a cut. But description is not 
explanation, no matter in what technical terms it may be couched. I 
still do not understand why or even the ultimate how when a cut fin- 
ger heals itself. 

I do not understand the power of the Life Force, which operates 
the mechanisms of healing, nor do I understand how that force is 
applied or just what makes it work. I do not understand the intelli- 
gence that created the mechanisms, nor just how some directing intel- 
ligence operates them. 

Dr. Alexis Carrel, in writing of his personal observations of 
instantaneous healings at Lourdes, said that the only explanation he 
could make as a medical doctor was that the body’s own natural heal- 
ing processes, which normally operate over a period of time to bring 
about healing, were somehow speeded up under the influence of 
intense faith. 

If miracles, as Dr. Carrel says, are accomplished by the accelera- 
tion of, or the intensifying of, natural healing processes and powers 
within the body, then I witness a small miracle every time I see a sur- 
gical wound heal itself by growing new tissue. Whether it requires two 
minutes, two weeks, or two months makes no difference insofar as I 
can see. I still witness some power at work that I do not understand. 



294 Chapter Fifteen 

Medical Science, Faith, Life, 

All Come from Same Source 

Dubois, the famous French surgeon, had a large sign in his operating 
room: “The Surgeon dresses the wound, God heals it.” 

The same might be said of any type of medication, from antibi- 
otics to cough drops. Yet I cannot understand how rational persons 
can forego medical help because they believe it inconsistent with their 
faith. I believe that medical skill and medical discoveries are made pos- 
sible by the same Intelligence, the same Life Force, that operates 
through the media of faith healing. And for this reason I can see no 
possible conflict between medical science and religion. Medical heal- 
ing and faith • healing both derive from the same source and should 
work together. 

No father who saw a mad dog attacking his child would stand idly 
by and say, “I must do nothing because I must prove my faith.” He 
would not refuse the assistance of a neighbor who brought a club or a 
gun. Yet, if you reduce the size of the mad dog trillions of times and 
call it a bacteria or a virus, the same father may refuse the help of his 
doctor-neighbor who brings a tool in the form of a capsule, a scalpel, 
or a syringe. 


Don't Place Limitations on Life 

Which brings me to my parting thought. In the Bible we are told that 
when the prophet was in the desert and hungry, God lowered a sheet 
from the heavens containing food. Only to the prophet it didn’t look 
much like good food. It was unclean and contained all sorts of crawl- 
ing things. Whereupon God rebuked him, admonishing him not to 
call unclean that which God had offered. 

Some doctors and scientists today still turn up their noses at 
whatever smacks of faith or religion. Some religionists have the same 
attitude, suspicion, and revulsion concerning anything scientific. The 
biased lack of cooperation is everywhere and repugnant to me. 
Doctors of chiropractic and medicine choose to feud rather than rec- 
ognize the value and validity of their respective contributions and 
work together for the good of their patients. Psychiatrists, psycholo- 
gists, and academia sneer at self-help, yet the anecdotal and docu- 



More Years Of Life and More Life in Your Years 295 


mented evidence of hundreds of thousands of people being genuinely 
and profoundly assisted by books like these is so overwhelming and 
consistent no sane person would prosecute against it. So why not 
embrace it? When a professional therapist angrily criticizes the “pop- 
psych” author or “guru” who appears on “Oprah” or even the Home 
Shopping Network, is the rebuke genuine or ego- and jealousy- 
driven? 

While all these sources war with each other and deny each other 
legitimacy, you need not be caught up in their petty differences. You 
have the freedom to seek out and “mix ‘n match” whatever works best 
for you. Do not close your mind to any potential benefit or assistance. 
Use your own rational thought. Test hypotheses for yourself. 

Everyone’s real goal, as I said in the beginning, is for more life — 
more living. Whatever your definition of happiness may be, you will 
experience happiness only as you experience more life. More living 
means among other things more accomplishment, the attainment of 
worthwhile goals, more love experienced and given, more health and 
enjoyment, more happiness for both yourself and others. 

I believe that there is me life, one ultimate source, but that this one 
life has many channels of expression and manifests itself in many forms. 
If we are to get more living out of life, we should not limit the chan- 
nels through which Life may come to us. We must accept it, whether 
it comes in the form of science, religion, psychology, or what not. 

Another important channel is other people. Let us not refuse the 
help, happiness, and joy that others may bring us, or that we can give to 
them. Let us not be too proud to accept help from others, nor too cal- 
lous to give it. Let us not say “unclean” just because the form of the gift 
may not coincide with our prejudices or our ideas of self-importance. 


The Best Self-Image of All 

Finally, let us not limit our acceptance of Life by our own feelings of 
unworthiness. God has offered us forgiveness and the peace of mind 
and happiness that come from self-acceptance. It is an insult to our 
Creator to turn our backs on these gifts or to say that His creation — 
humanity — is so “unclean” that he is not worthy or important or capa- 
ble. The most adequate and realistic self-image of all is to conceive of 



296 Chapter Fifteen 


yourself as “made in the image of God.” “You cannot believe yourself 
the image of God, deeply and sincerely, with full conviction, and not 
receive a new source of strength and power,” says Dr. Frank G. 
Slaughter. 

The ideas and exercises in this book have helped many of my 
patients get more living out of life. It is my hope, and my belief, that 
they will do the same for you. 



CHAPTER SIXTEEN 


True Stories of Lives Changed 
Using Psycho -Cybernetics 


The Case of the 

Least-Likely-to-Succeed Stockbroker 

Celia Quinn was born with a gift, an advantage: far above-average 
intelligence. She is a MENSA member, an association of people with 
IQ in the top 2% of the entire population. But this “gift” was of little 
use to her for quite some time, thanks to other birth disadvantages. 
She was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, a birth defect that is a 
split in the roof of the mouth and the upper lip, and that produces 
“mangled” speech. It is often accompanied by a deformed nose. Celia 
described hers as looking like “a Quonset hut with one corner of the 
roof collapsed.” The crude, minimal surgery of the time did not help 
her speech. Her speech was so unintelligible to many, she carried a 
pad and pencil with her to communicate with. Her jaw, teeth, and face 
often ached. Celia had a very difficult time in school; other children 
picked on her, and even teachers presumed her stupid. 

“When you can’t speak,” Celia said, “people think you are stu- 
pid. My family, teachers, other children thought so and even I started 
to believe it.” 

She was 16 when she left home, catching a bus to the nearest big 
city, with $44 in her pocket. She had no plan, no idea where she was 
going; she only knew she had to escape where she was. She got a dish- 


297 



298 Chapter Sixteen 


washer job at a drug store lunch counter, she was able to rent a base- 
ment room from a black woman who worked as a prostitute. This 
woman encouraged Celia to improve herself, to continue her educa- 
tion and to push to do something with her life. In conversations, Celia 
learned that the woman owned real estate and even invested in stocks, 
something that both surprised her and motivated her. 

A dentist, who stopped for coffee each morning at the Walgreens 
lunch counter, got a note passed to him one morning from Celia. It 
read: “My teeth hurt so much. I can only pay you $5 a month. Will 
you help me?” The dentist arranged for her to receive surgeries and 
subsequent dental care, at a total cost of over $3,000. Celia remembers 
bursting into tears over the sum. However, she worked at multiple 
jobs, paid those bills, paid to attend business school to become a sec- 
retary, and saved up to pay for plastic surgery for her nose. Then she 
worked her way through the University of Nebraska, obtaining a 
degree in journalism after twelve years. For the next seven years, she 
worked in Lincoln, Nebraska as a reporter. An ad for a trainee for 
Merrill Lynch intrigued her. She soon began a career with Merrill 
Lynch. Somewhat to their surprise, she did well and after seven years, 
she was recruited by Smith-Barney and made a vice-president. 

Celia Quinn went on to achieve truly extraordinary success as a 
stock broker, investment advisor, ultimately as president of her own 
investment firm. Her personal lifestyle has mirrored that of the rich 
and famous, complete with a mansion with a swimming pool in its liv- 
ing room, luxury automobiles, civic leadership, and security. 

How did this woman manage to persevere through so many dis- 
advantages and hardships to achieve such success? 

She says her conversion was never easy. “My self-image was ter- 
rible, but due to a combination of necessity, an occasional push from 
someone else, and gradually discovering abilities, I moved ahead.” 
Early in her selling career, she consulted a psychiatrist to improve her 
self-esteem. He told her she was not “stupid” as she believed; in fact, 
to the contrary, she was extremely intelligent, and he urged her to take 
the MENS A examination — and she passed! 

She discovered the original edition of this book, s while still 
working at Walgreens, and says it was pivotal in getting her to pursue 
and obtain plastic surgery. She also credits the book with giving her 
the courage to seek therapy. Finally, she began to understand that she 



True Stories of Lives Changed Using Psycho-Cybernetics 299 

need not be held back by any of her childhood traumas, and that she 
could take pride and confidence from the progress she had made. “Dr. 
Maltz’ ideas made it possible for me to go from an 88-cent-an-hour 
dishwasher to owning my own investment firm,” says Celia Quinn. 

Regardless of the impetus, the important point is that Celia 
Quinn tested the “truths” about herself and discovered they were not 
true at all! 

Be inspired by this example and test every believed but limiting 
“truth” in your self-image’s inventory. You too may very well discover 
some of the most inhibiting are not true at all. 


The Case of the Professor's "F" 


“I was flunking out of college and contemplating suicide when I first 
read Psycho-Cybernetics, and it literally turned my life around.” 

That dramatic statement comes from college professor, profes- 
sional speaker, author, and successful businessman Marshall Reddick. 
Mr. Reddick says that, at age 20, he was struggling just to stay in col- 
lege, and believed he lacked the intelligence necessary to make it to 
graduation, let alone to go farther toward success in life. He was also 
painfully shy, a representation of his poor self-image and near total 
absence of self-confidence. 

After reading Psycho-Cybernetics, he began experimenting with 
some of its simplest, most basic prescriptions and techniques. “I began 
to re-program myself,” he says. “For example, I placed little notes all 
around me, in my pockets, on my mirror, in my car, ‘reminding’ me 
that I was a confident person and a capable person. Sure enough, after 
just 21 days, I started to feel and behave differently.” 

. Marshall Reddick went on with a successful academic career: 
obtaining his Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Economics, a 
Master’s Degree in Business from Colorado State University, his 
Ph.D. in Business from Texas Tech University, and a three year tenure 
as Professor of Business and Economics at California State University. 
“I had all my students read and then write a report on Psycho- 
Cybernetics,” Reddick says, “and I still recommend the book today.” 



300 Chapter Sixteen 


Today, Mr. Reddick is a much-in-demand professional speaker, 
and has earned the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation 
from the National Speakers Association. His seminar company has 
been presenting programs on time management, negotiations, and 
peak performance for corporate clients worldwide since 1975. 

Isn’t it remarkable that a failing student can metamorphose into 
a stellar student, earn a Ph.D., and step to the other side of the desk as 
professor, from such simple techniques? Self-made multi-millionaire 
W. Clement Stone has a favorite saying: “Little hinges swing big 
doors.” It has many profound applications, and this is one of them — 
that frequently little tests of “truths” imbedded in the self-image, lit- 
tle experiments in exercising new control over one’s thoughts can 
swing open huge doorways to rapid and dramatic personal growth. 

It isn’t necessarily the size of the idea but the size of the oppor- 
tunity that governs the result. By experimenting with even the sim- 
plest of the ideas found in Psycho-Cybernetics , you too may make 
amazing self-discoveries. 


The Case of the Alcoholic's Daughter 


I am a professional speaker. The other day, as I was getting ready to leave 
my office to deliver a keynote address for a large association’s luncheon, 
my eyes went to the bookcase in my office — where one book stands out 
from all the others. Soft cover, tattered in places, used and worn. It takes 
me back to 1960 ° 

I was working my way through Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas by 
being the “girl Friday” for a prestigious law firm. The managing partner 
became my mentor. I know today that he saw the low self-esteem in that 
19-year-old girl. In one of our meetings that year, he handed a copy of 
Psycho-Cybernetics to me to read. If he said it was worthwhile, then it 
was, and I digested its contents that very week. Maxwell Maltz offered me 
tools to “re-engineer” my thoughts and feelings about myself, in ways 
that had never occurred to me. 

For the first 16 years of my life, my father was a trouble-shooter for a 
huge manufacturing company, and they must have had a lot of troubles 
because we moved every year, sometimes twice in the same year, coast to 
coast and back again, 17 schools in 12 years. On weekends, after travel- 
ing all week, my Dad came home and crawled into a botde. My Mom was 
rarely able to leave the house and, as the eldest of four children, I became 
her legs. I was the one who got the utilities connected each time we 



True Stories of Lives Changed Using Psycho-Cybernetics 301 

moved, got bills paid, groceries purchased. Yet, in her eyes, I never quite 
did anything well enough. With this as background, I was attempting to 
function effectively in the world of work, and struggling obviously 
enough that my employer handed me this book about the self-image. 

The first year that I was given Psycho-Cybernetics, I read it five times. 

Over the next five years, I re-read it several times each year. Maxwell 
Maltz became my encourager. He not only opened the door to a new way 
of living for me, but he birthed a lifelong interest in mind-body studies 
that directed my career and brought me a lifetime of fulfillment. Today, 

I speak to audiences all over the country on issues of self-esteem and 
communication. I know firsthand that we cannot connect with others 
until we connect with ourselves. 

Peggy Collins traveled from law firm clerk to a top producer in 
real estate selling to Senior Vice-President of a banking institution 
before embarking on her current career as a professional speaker and 
workshop leader, with an impressive corporate client list including 
Mobil Oil, Frito-Lay, Burger King, and the J.C. Penney Corporation. 
Her story reinforces the important fact that the past need not predict 
the future. It is a well-known psychological fact that children of alco- 
holics face significant and special problems. But depending on your 
definition of “dysfunctional family,” nearly everyone has one! Each 
person must rise above childhood experiences or adverse adult experi- 
ences to take control of his or her own personality, beginning now and 
moving forward. 

One of American business’ favorite speakers, Joel Weldon, gave 
a speech for many years titled “Jet Pilots Don’t Use Rearview 
Mirrors.” We must all stop looking in our rearview mirrors and focus 
on the present moment and the future. 


The Case of the Rodeo Cowboys 

When Doug Butler agreed to take the reins as coach of the Cal-Poly, 
Pomona (California State Polytechnic University) rodeo team in the 
fall of 1969, they occupied last place in the western region of the 
National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. One of the students in 
Doug’s horseshoeing class, a top rodeo cowboy stuck on this last-place 
team, urged Doug to step in as coach, insisting that the team had more 
ability than they were demonstrating. 



302 Chapter Sixteen 


“I had recendy read Dr. Maltz’ Psycho-Cybernetics, was impressed 
by it, and working to apply its methods in my life. I felt the methods 
could be used to coach rodeo athletes, although I had never heard of 
the techniques being used for that purpose,” Doug Butler recalled. 
“Later I discovered that Gary Leffew was using these methods to 
coach students in his bull-riding school, but at the time I thought I was 
breaking new ground.” 

Doug developed a plan for turning the team around, including 
new rules, training disciplines, a code of behavior for the athletes, and 
use of Psycho-Cybernetics as a text for personal improvement. The 
director of the University’s Animal Science department, a former pro- 
fessional hockey player, agreed to support the plan. Doug then met 
with the rodeo team members and made it clear he would not accept 
the coaching responsibilities unless they would agree to all of his con- 
ditions. The rules included no alcohol, no tobacco, no drug use, good 
grades, even a well-groomed appearance, and participation in a rigor- 
ous practice schedule at the college rodeo arena two days a week, sup- 
plemented by daily mental practice. 

Doug led an aggressive program of physical and mental condi- 
tioning. “Three days a week we worked out at t±\e gym starting at 6:30 
am . We used weight training machines, did calisthenics and ran wind 
sprints. As we cooled down, we would discuss insights from our study 
of Psycho-Cybernetics. Everybody had a copy of the book and read it and 
re-read it. Each team member would practice visualizing his own 
champion performance, and would share their detailed descriptions of 
these imagined experiences with each other.” 

By late spring of 1970, the team had moyed from the basement 
to the second place in the division, behind a team that featured a 
future six-time world champion cowboy. As the team’s image, per- 
formance, and record improved, rodeo athlete scholarships became 
available for students for the very first time. 

“The students presented me with an engraved silver belt buckle 
and a standing ovation at the year-end banquet. I still wear the buckle 
and will always treasure the great ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’ experience we 
shared. And every one of these team members has gone on to become 
successful in their chosen professions.” 

Doug Butler has his Ph.D. from Cornell University in veterinary 
anatomy and equine nutrition, is one of only 500 Certified 



True Stories of Lives Changed Using Psycho-Cybernetics 303 

Journeyman Farriers, was three times a member of the North 
American Horseshoeing Team, and is . the author of over 30 books and 
tapes on horseshoeing and horse foot care. In 1980, he won the North 
American Challenge Cup Horseshoeing Contest. In 1997, he was 
inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame. And in 
1999, he won the Journalism Award from the American Farriers 
Association. Today, Doug conducts classes, teaching blacksmiths to 
apply visualization techniques to be more efficient and competent 
craftsmen. He also speaks to business groups, associations and corpo- 
rate audiences on “The Cowboy Code,” dealing with character, lead- 
ership, and self-mastery. He says that his continued use of the 
techniques of Psycho-Cybernetics “has steered him towards successful 
accomplishment of every goal.” 

As you can see, it doesn’t matter what your occupation or voca- 
tion is — even rodeo rider — the principles, concepts, and techniques of 
Psycho-Cybernetics are reliable tools for achieving peak performance. 
Also, as the story of Doug’s team illustrates, it doesn’t matter what 
your starting point may be. Even if, like his team, you are in last place, 
in disarray, absent focus, self-discipline, or self-confidence, all that can 
change at your own determination. No collection of circumstances 
founded on past experience need remain in control of your present or 
your future. 


The Case of the Woman Who Could Not Walk 

“Dear Dr. Maltz — please let me express to you my feelings of grati- 
tude for your book Psycho-Cybernetics” so began a letter much like 
thousands of others received in Dr. Maltz’ office over the years. 
However, this letter went on to describe a truly amazing story . . . 

What I am about to share with you is very personal and charged with emo- 
tion. WTten I think of how one paperback book has changed my whole life, 
is it any wonder I want to tell you my story, hoping it may help others. 

My life began in Providence, Kentucky on October 1, 1924, as a healthy, 
normal 9 pound baby girl. I was stricken with Muscular Dystrophy at age 
10. I recall overhearing the doctor telling my parents that they might as 
well take me out of school as I had less than one year to live. This etched 
fear deep into me. Gradual changes took place in my motor abilities. I 
began to stumble, soon it became difficult to walk. Then I began to expe- 



304 Chapter Sixteen 


rience great difficulty using my hands. With loving and understanding, I 
began a journey that would span 20 years, trying to cope with this pro- 
gressive disease, this shadow of doom, MD. 

Many summers were spent in hospitals, in body casts, in therapy. Finally 
specially built shoes with steel braces attached were provided to help me 
walk. My whole body was showing signs of weakness. Tasks that were so 
simple for others were great frustrations for me. Still, in spite of numer- 
ous obstacles, I managed to complete my education, which included col- 
lege. Then came thirteen years teaching school. At the age of 25, I was 
told I must undergo an operation on both ankles or risk spending the 
remainder of my life in a wheelchair. After suffering these operations, 
almost a year of confinement in casts and wheelchair, I had to learn to 
walk again.' It was months before I could stand for periods of time. 
Several years before I was able to return to work. 

Even though, for the most part, the operations were a success, mental 
scars remained, and they became a greater handicap to me than did my 
physical disabilities. I lacked self-confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance. 

I seemed to have lost a sense of direction and a purpose in living. 

We will interrupt only for a moment to make this important 
point: It does not matter how or by what series of events a person loses 
the purpose for living, and with it self-esteem and self-confidence. It 
happens to tens of thousands of people, thousands of different ways. It 
certainly does not require severe physical handicaps or trauma to wind 
up in this very same emotional state. However, the pathway out of this 
darkness, into the light, is the same regardless of what brought on the 
darkness in the first place. 

The letter continues... 

Well-meaning friends and my family tried to help me. Inspirational book- 
lets, books, and a desperate search into all types of philosophy filled every 
waking moment. I investigated everything from Buddhism to 
Transcendental Meditation. I even delved into some of the Ancient Vedas. 

One day while browsing in a bookstore, my eye caught sight of a book 
titled Psycho-Cybernetics. The title aroused my curiosity. I was told by the 
clerk in the store that she simply couldn’t keep enough copies on hand, 
that it was one of the best-selling books in her store. That was all I needed 
to hear. I bought a copy and found that I couldn’t lay it down. For the first 
time in my life I began to gain an insight into my own behavior. 

When I finished the book, I decided that someday I would meet the 
author. I didn’t know how this meeting could come about, but I knew I 
must have the opportunity to tell Dr. Maltz of my appreciation. 

Over a period of years, Psycho-Cybernetics has served as an action manual 
for me. My attitude has changed from the negative to “a winning feel- 



True Stories of Lives Changed Using Psyeho-Cyberneties 305 


ing.” What now appears to be a miracle to others is simply my working 
to change my own self-image. 

I have become somewhat of a medical phenomenon. Every doctor that 
has examined me has said that I do not have the physical muscle ability 
to walk. From a medical standpoint there seems to be no logical explana- 
tion for the fact that I do walk. I was recently named “Handicapped 
Professional Woman of the Year” at the District-4 Pilot International 
Convention. This award is jointly sponsored by Pilot and the President’s 
Committee on Employment for the Handicapped. I have just been 
appointed to Governor Askew’s sub-committee on information and press 
relations on employment of the handicapped here in Florida. 

Through my work in television, I have had the good fortune and pleas- 
ure of working with many well-known personalities. Among the notables 
was — you, Dr. Maltz. 

I have come to know what it is to live a fulfilling, useful and happy life. 

Jeanne Sanders 


Jeanne and her husband Peter became good friends of Max and 
Anne Maltz. 

About her, Dr. Maltz once wrote, “Sooner or later in life, every 
person must face catastrophe. Each person then chooses to rise above 
it, no matter how Herculean the effort required, or to succumb to it. 
How can Jeanne Sanders walk and drive a car without the muscle 
capability and strength required to do so, according to all medical 
experts? Because of the muscle strength of her self-image, which can- 
not be so readily seen or medically evaluated.” 

It is significant that Jeanne Sanders noted that she used Psycho- 
Cybernetics as an'“action manual.” Unlike philosophical writings and 
unlike scores of other self-improvement books, Psycho-Cybernetics 
emphasizes things to do, not just things to think. This is important, 
because it is the constructive doing that yields results. 

Dr. Maltz frequently told a story about the man who spent hours 
each and every day, in privacy, in a quiet room, eyes closed, meticu- 
lously visualizing such events as winning the lottery or being made 
Chief Executive Officer of a giant corporation, and then captaining its 
affairs from his plush penthouse office with floor-to-ceiling windows 
overlooking all of Manhattan, or of enjoying a honeymoon with a 
beautiful woman on a sunny tropical beach. This man engaged in 
these visualizations day after day, month after month, for a number of 
years before finally giving up in disgust, proclaiming to anyone who 



306 Chapter Sixteen 

would listen that all this “self-help mumbo-jumbo” was bunk. The 
problem was, this fellow never once purchased a lottery ticket, applied 
for a better position, or asked a young woman out to dinner! 

Psycho-Cybernetics can be of little value if only read, then relegated 
to a bookshelf. But if used with purpose and direction and determina- 
tion as Jeanne Sanders did, it can liberate you to live a most fulfilling life. 



Vocabulary 


Automatic Success Mechanism (ASM, aka Success Mechanism). 

Refers to the servo-mechanism when directed to perform as a 
success mechanism, i.e., when stimulated by specific, positive 
targets (goals) and by Psycho-Cybernetics techniques. 

Course Correction. Refers to the “zig zag” means by which virtually 
all targets are reached. 

Critic Within, The. Refers to the voice of the AFM, Automatic 
Failure Mechanism; reinforcement of self-doubt, inferiority, 
unhealthy self-image via negative, self-critical self-talk. 

Cybernetics. Control processes in electrical, mechanical or biologi- 
cal systems, notably including the negative-feedback-to-posi- 
tive-results loop. Evolved in large part from guided-missile 
technology. 

Deja Vu Effect. Typically defined as the illusion of having already 
experienced something actually being experienced for the first 
time. The “Deja Vu Effect” is the ease of doing something as it 
occurs in close replication of imagination practice and mental 
rehearsal. 

Elan Vital. “Enthusiasm for the essence of life.” In Dr. Maltz’ writ- 
ings the term “aliveness” is frequently used to mean experienc- 
ing elan vital. 

Kind Eyes. Compassion for oneself. The opposite of self-criticism. 

Mental Rehearsal. The use of the imagination to rehearse a func- 
tion, process conversation, etc. in vivid and specific detail, repet- 
itively, so that it may occur as rehearsed. 

Servo-Mechanism (aka Creative Mechanism). Refers to the “inner 
computer” combining memory search and retrieval, creative 
thinking, problem solving, providing self-confidence, and many 
other functions. Performs as directed through conscious, 
rational thought, deliberate use of imagination, and automatic 
repetition of learned behavior in congruence with/con trolled by 
the self-image. 


307 



308 Vocabulary 


Synthetic Experience. The product of mental rehearsal, meaning 
that the artificial or imagination-made experience is nearly as 
good as actual successful experience. 

Target. Synonym for clearly defined, specific goal, whether of a 
behavioral or outcome nature. 

Theater of the Mind. The exact process for mental rehearsal developed 
and prescribed by Dr. Maltz; a “place” created in your imagination 
where you “go” for purposes of relaxation, mental rehearsal, and to 
view “mental movies” you create, direct and star in. 

Visualization. Commonly used term for use of the imagination in a 
purposeful manner. 



Recommended Reading 


Psycho-Cybernetics (Original Edition) by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. 
While approximately 60% of this book duplicates content from the 
original, updated in some cases, having read this book you are likely 
to find also reading the original unabridged edition interesting and 
enlightening. It is a classic that belongs in everyone’s success library. 

Magic Power of Self-Image by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. Dr. Maltz’s sec- 
ond book, a practical guide to applying Psycho-Cybernetics, and fur- 
ther exploration of self-image psychology. 

Zero Resistance Selling by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, Foundation, and 
co-authors Kennedy, Brooks, Paul, Oechsli and Yellen. The first and 
only book ever published specifically for sales professionals, based on 
Psycho-Cybernetics. 


List of Books Referred to Throughout This Book 

Anatomy of an Illness! Cousins 
Body, Mind, SpzVfr/Worcester* 

Battling the Inner Dummy! Weiner, Hefter 
Better Golf without Practice! Morrison* 

Bright Air, Brilliant Fire / Edelman 
Conquest of Happiness! Russell* 

Do One Thing Different! O’Hanlon 

From Panic to Power! Bassett 

Golfs Mental Hazards! Shapiro 

How to Live 365 Days a Year! Schindler* 

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci/Gtlb 
How to Make $25,000.00 a Year in Selling! Roth* 

How to Control Worry! Chappell* 

How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People/G iblin 
Human Use of Human Beings fWeiner* 

Inner Game of GolflG allwey 
Inner Game of Tennis! GAWey 
Liberating Everyday Genius!] acobsen 
Making the Most of Your Life /Web, Morgan* 


309 



310 


Mind over Golf/ Coop 

Prescription for Anxiety fWzathzv\\za&* 

Profiles of Power and Success /Uxm d ru m 
Psychology of Invention/ Rossman* 

Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem/ Steinheim 
Secrets of Successful Selling/ Murphy* 

Self-Consistency, A Theory of Personality/ Lecky* 

Six Pillars of Self-EsteemfBran&zn 

Sparks of Human G>wf«j/Root-Bernstein 

Stress of Life/ Selye 

Success Is an Inside Job/ Milteer 

The Mental Athlete: 

Inner Training for Peak Performance/ Parker, Foster 
Think and Grow Rich/ Hill 
Think Outside the Box/Vance 
The Will to Lzw/Hutschnecker* 

Wake Up and Live/ Brande 


‘Tides marked with this asterisk (*) may be out of print; however, you may find them 
at libraries. Titles not marked with the asterisk are contemporary books currently 
available at most booksellers. 




Additional Resources 


These are some of the people you met in The New Pyscho-Cybemetics: 


WILLIAM BROOKS 

The Brooks Group 
Reference: 

www.psycho-cybernetics.com 

www.arizonaspeakersbureau.com 

DOUG BUTLER 

Doug Butler Enterprises 
253 Grey Rock Road 
LaPorte, Co. 80535 
www.cowboycode.com 

PEGGY COLLINS 

The People Connection 
333 Inwood Village 
Dallas, Texas 75209 
www.thepeopleconnection.com 

LEE MILTEER 

www.psycho-cybernetics.com 
www. arizonaspeakersbureau . com 

JEFF PAUL 

Hidden Profits Advertising, Inc. 

www.psycho-cybernetics.com 

www.arizonaspeakersbureau.com 


JOE POLISH 

Piranha Marketing, Inc. 

512 E. Southern Ave., Suite C 
Tempe, A Z 85282 
www.thegeniusnetwork.com 

CELLA QUINN 

Celia Quinn Investment Services 
10908 Forrest Drive 
Omaha, Nebraska 68144 

MARSHALL REDDICK, 

Ph.D. 

1750 Ocean Blvd. #1405 
Long Beach, Ca. 90802 

PAUL G. STOLTZ, Ph.D. 

Peak Learning Inc. 

2650 Skyview Trail 

San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93405 

www.peaklearning.com 

MICHAEL VANCE 

Creative Thinking Association 
of America 

16600 Sprague Road, Suite 120 
Cleveland OH 44130 


311 



312 


Free Audio-Cassette Tape from the 
Psyeho-Cyberneties Foundation 

As a purchaser of this book, you are entitled to a free audio cassette tape 
introducing advanced Psycho-Cybernetics concepts, “Your Introduction 
to ‘Zero Resistance Living.’” Simply photocopy and complete the form 
below (no need to tear a page out of your book) or put the same infor- 
mation on a piece of .paper and FAX it to 602-269-3113. 


Name 

Address 

City, State, Zip 

Phone 

FAX 

E-mail Address 


Free Articles and Back Issues of the Foundation's 
'Zero Resistance Living' Newsletter 

A collection of past issues of The Zero Resistance Living Letter and other 
essays, articles, and book excerpts and reviews related to Psycho- 
Cybernetics is available at www.psycho-cybemetics.com. free of charge. 



About the Authors 


Dr. Maxwell Maltz received his baccalaureate in science from 
Columbia University in 1921 and his doctorate in medicine from the 
College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1923. 
After postgraduate work in plastic surgery in Europe, Dr. Maltz was 
appointed to head several departments of reparative surgery in New 
York hospitals. He became a prominent international lecturer on his 
specialty and on the psychological aspects of plastic surgery, and he 
published two books on these subjects: New Faces, New Futures and Dr. 
Pygmalion. He developed a very successful private practice in New 
York and treated patients who came to him from all over the world, 
including many celebrities. 

In the 1950s, Dr. Maltz became increasingly fascinated by the 
number of people who came to him requesting surgery, who had 
greatly exaggerated “mental pictures” of their physical deformities, 
and whose unhappiness or insecurities remained unchanged even after 
he gave them the new faces they desired. In 1960, after nearly a 
decade of counseling hundreds of such patients, extensive research on 
everything from missile guidance technology to hypnosis, and testing 
his evolving “success conditioning” on athletes, salespeople, and oth- 
ers, he published his findings and then radical ideas in the first edition 
of Psycho-Cybernetics. 

The book was an instant bestseller, and Dr. Maltz was sought out 
by corporations, athletes, entertainers, even religious organizations, 
as a speaker, seminar presenter, and private coach. His book’s fans 
ranged from Jane Fonda to Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers. 
Even the famous artist Salvador Dali presented him with an original 
painting depicting the self-image emerging from darkness into light. 

Dr. Maltz authored several other books about Psycho-Cybernetics, 
as well as three novels, even an off-Broadway play, and amassed a wealth 
of “case history” material, lecture and seminar notes, audio and film 
recordings — all now in the archives of The Psycho-Cybernetics 
Foundation. Although Dr. Maltz passed away at age 76, his legacy is 
thriving; in fact, his works have grown in popularity, almost entirely 
through word of mouth. Additional information about all Dr. Maltz’s 
work is available at www.psycho-cybemetics.com. 


313 



314 


Dan S. Kennedy is a marketing consultant, professional 
speaker, author of nine books, and successful businessman. As a 
speaker, he has addressed over 200,000 people a year for each of the 
past nine years, frequently and repeatedly appearing on programs 
with former U.S. Presidents, Generals Norman Schwarzkopf and 
Colin Powell, broadcasters Larry King and Paul Harvey, entertainers, 
athletes, coaches, business leaders, and fellow speakers like Zig Ziglar, 
Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, and Tom Hopkins. His books include No 
Rules: 21 Lies and Myths about Success and The Ultimate Marketing Plan. 
Mr. Kennedy is also a lifelong student and practitioner of Psycho- 
Cybernetics, CEO of The Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, author of 
THE NEW PSYCHO-CYBERNETICS audio program, and co- 
author of the Psycho-Cybemetics-based book for sales professionals: 
Zero Resistance Selling. Additional information about Mr. Kennedy’s 
work is available at www.dankennedy.com. 



The Artist’s Gift 



In 1966, the famous and celebrated artist Salvador Dali created 
a painting depicting his experience with Psycho-Cybe r metics, which he 
presented as a gift to Maxwell Maltz. Upon Salvador Dali’s death in 
1989, all the rights were bequeathed and transferred to Maxwell and 
Anne Maltz, and the work was subsequently issued a copyright in 
March of 1993, to the Maltzess’, titled “Darkness and Light.” 


315 




316 


Unfortunately, the Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation is unaware 
of the location of the painting or in whose possession it may be. Thus, 
the photos and photocopies available for reproduction here do not 
even approach doing it justice. 

Here is Dr. Maltz’s description of the painting, based on his con- 
versation with Salvador Dali when first presented with the painting. 

In the center of this painting is a world divided into two parts. The left 
is a world in shadow from frustration. Here, in the middle, you have a 
man’s image, shrunken to the size of a small potato, moving away from 
reality, toward the black angel of destruction. Below you see a ship with- 
out any sails about to capsize in the rough seas of frustration. Now, the 
other half of man’s inner world is of sunlight, of confidence. Here, man’s 
image is ten feet tall and is walking toward the sun, Below you see a ship 
in calm waters about to reach port. And what is this port? Peace of mind! 

We can learn to walk away from this shadow world of frustration into the 
dawn of a new world, through confidence. 

In one interview, Dr. Maltz said, “Dali’s gift to me is the gift each 
person can give to themselves. It is important that we understand that 
the port of peace of mind cannot be reached by moving away from 
reality. Any form of simple escapism can only alleviate frustration tem- 
porarily as an aspirin may alleviate the symptoms of headache. Only 
by moving aggressively toward reality — which means uncovering hid- 
den truths about yourself — can you truly have peace of mind.” 

Above all else Psycho-Cybernetics is about the search for truth: 
your true potential, your true personality, your true desires and aspi- 
rations, your true talents and abilities, your true character. 



INDEX 


A 

Accidents, as result of emotional 
carry-over, 235 
Actual Self, defined, 149 
Adaptation energy, defined, 283 
Adler, Dr. Alfred, as example of 
dehypnotization, 69-71 
Adventures in Staying Young 
(Maltz), 72 

Adversity Quotient (AQ), 
defined, 151-153 
AFM, see Automatic Failure 
Mechanism 
Agassi, Andre, 264 
Aggressiveness, as warning sign 
of Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 160-163 
Alienation, as result of emotional 
scars, 182-184 

Aliveness (life), desire for, 13-14 
Allen, James, 134 
Anatomy of an Illness (Cousins), 
118 

Anxiety Disorders and Phobias 
(Beck et ah), 185 
ASM, see Automatic Success 
Mechanism 

Athletes, as beneficiaries of 
Psycho-Cybemetics, 19 
Attitude, and happiness, 123-124 
Automatic Failure Mechanism 
(AFM): 

and aging, 280, 285-286 
uprising of, 96, 97 
as servo-mechanism, 15-17 
Automatic Success Mechanism 
(ASM), 94 

accidentally activating, 

155-179 


in action, 34 
awakening, 25-42 
defined, 14 

as guidance system, 26, 27 
how it works, 29-30 
and mental pictures, 62-63 
in problem solving, 37-38 
as servo-mechanism, 15, 17 
spontaneity of, 98-99, 105, 
106-107 

and staying young, 280 
strengthened and empowered, 
42 

use of imagination, 43-68 
See also Creative Mechanism 
AQ, see Advetsity Quotient 

B 

Babies, as examples of “personal- 
ity plus,” 203-204 
Backwards goal setting, 90 
Barber, Dr. Theodore 
Xenophon, 48, 75 
Barton, Bruce, 1 
Baruch, Bernard, 82 
Bassett, Dr. Lucinda, 224 
Battling the Inner Dummy (ID ) — 
The Craziness of Apparently 
'Normal People (Weiner and 
Heftner), 16, 47, 96 
Beecher, Henry Ward, 

114, 194,210 

Beliefs, examination and reevalu- 
ation of, 91-93 
Beck, Dr. Aaron T., 185 
Benjamin, Mr. Williams, Arthur, 
as example of taking 
responsibility for own 
happiness, 126 


Berra, Yogi, 261 
Better Gold without Practice 
(Morrison), 59 
Bodell, Dr., 238 
Body , Mind and Spirit 

(Worcester), 129, 130 
Brain, role of: 
in behavior, 14-15 
changing old recordings in, 
278 

in problem solving, 33 
in recording success and 
failure, 269 

Brande, Dorothea, 86, 87 
Branden, Dr. Nathaniel, 217 
Bright Air, Brilliant Fire 
(Edelman), 14 
Brissie, Eugene, xi 
Brooks, Wiliam, xi, 20 
Bulla, Johnny, and use of mental 
images in golf, 59 
Butler, Doug, as case of life 
changed by Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 301-303 

C 

Calmness, effect of, 238 
Capriati, Jennifer, as example of 
comeback through liber- 
ated self-image, 215-216 
Carefulness, excessive, effect of, 
210-211 
Carlyle, 143 
Carpenter, Karen, 150 
Carrel, Dr. Alexis, 293 
Carter, President Jimmy, 259 
Casey, Hugh, 252 
Chappell, Dr. Matthew N., 
120,276 


317 



3 1 8 Index 


Charity, need for, to achieve 
success, 141-142 
Cherry, Dr. E. Colin, 207 
Coaches, as beneficiaries of 

Psycho-Cybernetics, 19-20 
Cobb, Ty, and role of genetics in 
success, 23 

Coleman, ElJen Schneid, xi 
Coleman, Norman, 216 
Collins, Peggy, as case of life 
changed by Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 300-301 
Conditioned responses, 

extinguishing, 227-228 
Conquest of Happiness, The 
(RusseJl), 87 
Conscience: 

as a result of feedback, 
217-218 

purpose of, 2 1 8-2 1 9 
Coop, Dr. Richard, 

19, 24,52, 53,229 
Corbett, Gentleman Jim, 248 
Costner, Kevin, 169 
Courage: 

cultivating, 273-274 
need for, to achieve success, 
139-140 

Cousins, Norman, 1 1 8 
Creative Imagination, 27-29 
Creative living, 110-111 
Creative Mechanism, 17 
defined, 14 

as servo-mechanism, 15 
spontaneity of, 98-99 
Creative thinking/doing, 

103-105 

Creativity, as characteristic of 
Life Force, 290 

Crisis, turning into opportunity, 
243-260 

Critic Within, 144-145, 198 

D 

Dale Carnegie Program, as 
example of right balance 
of corrective feedback, 
208-209 

Dali, Salvador, gift to Dan 
Kennedy, 307-308 
Daly, Chuck, as beneficiary of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 20 
Darrow, Clarence, 92 
Defoe, Daniel, 128 
Dehypnotizing self, 69-81 


DeLuca, Fred, 271 
Dempsey, Jack, 248 
Desire, power of, 93-94 
Direction, sense of, need for in 
success-type personality, 

136 

DiSesa, Nina, 109 
Disinhibition, 220-222 
Disney, Walt: 

and role of genetics in success, 
22 

and use of ideas, 92 
Distractions eraser, use of, to 
relax, 236-237 
Doctorow, E. L., 117 
Do One Thing Different 
(O’Hanlon), 85 
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, 

111, 170 

Dry shooting, as a practice 
method, 249-250 
Dumas, Alexander, 155 
Dunlap, Dr. Knight, 199 

E 

Edelman, Gerald, 14 
Edison, Thomas, 35, 171 
as creative worker, 1 14 
and happiness, 123 
Einstein, Albert, 38, 217 
Eisenhower, Dwight D., 98 
EJJen, as example of effect of 
negative imagination, 47 
Elway, John, and end-zone-to- 
end-zone march, 264 
Emery, Dr. Gary, 185 
Emotional scars, 180-202 
Emptiness, as warning sign of 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 175-177 
Entrepreneurs, as beneficiaries of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 20-21 
Epictetus, 122 

Equanimity, achieving, 227-227 
Escapism, use of, to relax, 
233-234 

Esteem, need for, to achieve 
success, 143-145 
Evil, overcoming with good, 
275-276 

Exaggeration of problems, 
255-257 

Excitement, different from fear, 
254-255 

Expressed Self, defined, 149 


F 

Fact, versus opinion, 138 
Failures: 

ignoring, 86-87 
and nervous system, 262-263 
Faith, cultivating, 273-274 
Fear response, 49-50 
Feedback, correct balance of, 
208-209 

Feeling of success, capturing, 

262 

Feelings, how we manufacture, 
278-279 

Fire drills, as example of teach- 
ing crisis conduct in non- 
crisis situation, 247 
Flurie, Doug, and role of 
genetics in success, 23 
Foreman, George, 259 
Forgetfulness, use of, 85-87 
Forgiveness, as means to remove 
emotional scars, 194-200 
Fosdick, Dr. Harry Emerson, 

218 

Foster, Judy, 54 

From Panic to Power (Bassett), 

225 

Frustration: 

as sign of inhibited personality, 
204 

as warning sign of Automatic 
Failure Mechanism, 

158-160 

Fundamentalists’ view of 
humans, 65 

G 

Gallwey, Tim, 60 
Gates, Elmer, 1 30 
Gelb, Michael J., 105 
Geller, Uri, 35 

General adaptation syndrome 
(GAS), 283' 

Genetics, role of, in success, 22- 
24 

Gerard, R. W., 25 
Giblin, Les, 265-266 
Gilkey, Dr. James Gordon, 112- 
113 

Ginsberg, Dr. Raphael, 287 
Goals: 

effect of, on emptiness, 175- 
176 

practical versus perfectionistic, 
158-159 



Index 319 


as source of power in crisis, 
252-253 

Goldbart, Stephen Dr., 1 1 
Golf's Mental Hazards: Overcome 
Them and Put an End to the 
Self Destructive Round 
(Shapiro), 95 

Gospel of Relaxation, The (James), 
102 

Graham, Billy, 248 
Graham, Otto, 86 
Grayson, Dr. Harry M., 64 
Greenberg, Ruth L., 185 
Grudges, need to give up, 195 

H 

Hall, BUI, 40 

Halsey, William F., 139 

Happiness: 

attained through Creative 
Mechanism, 18 
habit of, 117-133 
Happy thoughts, use of, 130-131 
Heftner, Dr. Gilbert, 16, 47 
Herman, Jeff, xi 
Hill, Napoleon, 23, 103 
Hofman, Theodore, example of 
effect of negative imagina- 
tion, 46 

Hogan, Ben, use of: 
mental pictures, 58-59 
practice without pressure, 249 
Holland, Bernard, 186, 190 
Holmes, Sherlock, 111, 170 
Hourglass, lesson of, 112-113 
How to Control Worry (Chappell), 
276 

How To Form Your Own 
Coiporation Without A 
Lawyer (Nicholas), 170 
How to Have Power and Confidence 
in Dealing with People 
(Giblin), 265, 266 
How to Live 365 Days a Year 
(Schindler), 288 
How To Make $4,000.00 A Day 
Sitting At Your Kitchen Table 
In Your Underwear (Paul), 91 
How to Make $25,000 a Year 
Selling (Roth), 55 
How to Think Like Leonard da 
Vinci (Gelb), 105 
Hubbard, Elbert, 168, 203 
Human Use of Hainan Beings, The 
(Weiner), 3 7 


Humphrey, “Skip,” 2 16 
Hutschnecker, Dr. Arnold, 
280,291 

Hypnotic power: 
examples of, 74-75 
secret of, 48-49 


1 

Iacocca, Lee, 168 
.Id (Freudian), 15 
Ideas, use of, 88-89 
Imagination, use of: 
by Automatic Success 
Mechanism, 43-68 
by Einstein, 38 
Immunization against hurt, 
187-192 

Inferiority complex, curing, 
76-77 

Inhibition of personality, 
204-205 

and disinhibition, 220-222 
effect on, of what others 
think, 2 12 

Inner Game of Tennis (Gallwey), 
60 

Insecurity, as warning sign of 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 163-166 
Insomnia, as carry-over from 
stress, 234-235 
Instinct, in humans, 26-29 
Intuition: Your Secret Power 
(Reynolds), 48 


J 

Jackson, Phil, as beneficiary of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 20 
Jacobsen, Dr. Mary-Elaine, 144 
James, William, 102, 107, 280 
James, T. F., 1 
Jesus, 5 

and the adulterous woman, 

196 

Johnson, Dr. Wendell, 199 
Jong, Erica, 180 
Jordan, Michael: 

as ideal for young men, 77-78 
and role of genetics in success, 
23 

Josselyn, Daniel W., 94 
Juvenile delinquents, and emo- 
tional scars, 186-187 


K 

Kaiser, Henry J., 27 
on negative feelings, 275 
Kennedy, Dan S., v, xvi, 104 
experiences with Pschyo- 
Cybernetics, xiv-xv 
gift from Dali, 307-308 
Kettering, Charles, 1 46 
Knack of Selling Yourself, The 
(Mangan), 213 

Knowledge, as source of power, 
162 

Kop, C. G., and use of mental 
pictures in musical training, 
58 

Kroc, Ray, 20 

L 

L’Amour, Louis, 189 
Larsen, Don, 264 
Leary, Dr. Timothy, 17 
Lecky, Prescott, 6-7, 253, 254 
and use of dehypnotization, 71 
and use of psychological 
levers, 89 
Lee, Bruce, 128 
Lehr, Lew, 59, 60 
Liberating Everyday Genius 
(Jacobsen), 144 
Life Force, 281-283 
and creativity, 290-291 
and science, 283-284 
as source of faith and healing, 
294 

Limbic memory, 17 
Limits, self-imposed, testing of, 
84 

Lincoln, Abraham, 79, 101, 120 
Local adaptation syndrome 
(LAS), 283 

Lohr, Lenox Riley, 104 
Lombardi, Vince, 13 

as beneficiary of Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 19 
Loneliness, as warning sign of 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 166-168 
Long, George, 230 
Louganis, Greg, 236 
Lundrum, Dr. Gene, 22, 184 
Lyons, John, 235 

M 

Mack, Connie, 243 
Magic Power of Self-Image, The 
(Maltz), 13 



320 Index 


Maltz, Anne, xv 

Maltz, Dr. Maxwell, v, xiii, xiv, xv 
and involvement in self-image 
psychology, 6-9, 12-13 
on self-image, 22 
Mamet, David, 125 
Mangan, James, as example of 
curing self-consciousness, 
212-213 

Marcus Aurelius, 230 
Marston, Moulton, 57 
Mayo, Charles W., 224 
Meditations of Marcus Aurelius , 

230 

Memory, role of, in success, 
85-86 

Mental Athlete: Inner Training for 
Peak Performance, The 
(Porter and Foster), 54 
Mental pictures, use of: 
in athletics, 52-54 
to obtain a better job, 57-58 
in m usic, 58 
in sales, 55 

Middlecoff, Dr. Cary, 

263-264, 269 
Milteer, Lee, 127 
Mind over Golf (Coop), 
19,24,229 
Miracles, 293 

Mistakes, confusion with self, 
198-199 

MLM Companies, as example of 
right balance of corrective 
feedback, 208-209 
Morrison, Alex, 59 
Multitasking, dangers of, 

111-112 

Murphy, John D., 71 
Myers, F. M. H., 87 

1M 

“Natural” behavior and skill, 
secret of, 105-106 
Negative feedback signals, 
excessive: 

effect of, 156-157,204-205, 
206,, 

ignoring, 213 

Negative feelings, accepting as 
challenge, 275 

Negative imagination, effect of, 
46-49 

Negative thoughts, cancellation 
of, 128 


Nervous system,, and failure, 
262-263 

Network Marketing, as example 
of right balance of correc- 
tive feedback, 208-209 
Neurolinguistic progamming 
(NLP), 89 

New Faces— New Futures, 

8, 46, 125 

Newmann, John von, 25 
Nicholas, Ted, 170 
Nicklaus, Jack, 76 

as beneficiary of Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 19 
use of Psycho-Cybernetics, 

52, 53, 58 

Nietzche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 69 
Nixon, President Richard, 168 
Normal human behavior, 13-14 
Norman, Greg, 264 
•Norris, Chuck, 128 

0 

Oeschsli, Matt, xi 
O’Hanlon, Bill, 85 
Olinger, Dr. Leonard B., 64 
Opinion: 

versus fact, 1 3 8 
worth of, 217 

Opportunity, obtaining from 
crisis, 243-260 

Overresponse, curing, 225-226 

P 

Palmer, Arnold, 76 
Pavlov, 226 

Pattern interrupt, as a means to 
happiness, 127 
Patton, George S., 115 
on courage, 274 
Paul, Jeff, xi, 90-91 
Peace of mind, achieving, 
224-242 

Peale, Dr. Norman Vincent, 66 
Penney, J. C., 265 
Perfect Horse, The (Lyons), 235 
Personality: 

as a system of ideas, 6-7 
unlocking the real one, 
202-223 

Personalizing, avoiding, 189-190 
Peterman Rides Again 
(Peterman), 214 
Peter Principle , The, 163 


Philbin, Regis, 259 
Picasso, 23 
Pidgeon, Walter, 258 
Plastic surgery: 

lack of effect of, on self- 
image, 9 

positive effect of, on self- 
image, 8 

Poise, as result of ignoring 
excessive feedback, 213 
Polish, Joe, as beneficiary of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 20-21 
Porter, Kay, 54 

Positive thinking, and self-image, 
5 

Possibilities, thinking in terms 
of, 262 

Pour Your Heart into It: How 
Starbucks Built a Company 
One Cup at a Time 
(Schultz), 28 

Practice without pressure, 

245- 246 

Pre -performance rituals: 
example of, 237-238 
use of to advantage, 229-230 
Pressure, effect of, on learning, 

246- 247 

Profiles of Power and Success 
(Lundrum), 22, 184 
Psycho-Cybernetics , v, xiii, xiv, 
2,22, 122 

and CEO of public company, 
56-57 

as continuing best-seller, 13 
and Jim Bouton, 19 
and Doug Butler, 301-303 
and Jeanne Sanders, 303-306 
and Joe Polish, 20-21 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 122, 136 
as actual, practical “mental 
training exercises,” xiv 
application of, to golf, 59-61 
as collection of insights, prin- 
ciples, and methods, 39 
as connector to infinite store- 
house of information, 

35-36 

effectiveness of, 2 
and emotional scars, 184-185 
essence of, 123 
as form of therapy, 83 
and living courageously, 1 40 
as means to success and 
happiness, 18 
naming of, 30 



Index 321 


as original science of self- 
improvement, xiii 
and relaxation, 101-116 
as revolution in psychology, 1 
and use of forgetfulness, 87 
use of, in prisons, 174 
Psycho-Cybernetics Foundation, 
xv 

Purpose tremor, defined, 210 
Psychic umbrellas, use of, to 
relax, 239 

Psychological gymnastics, 130 

Q 

Quiet room in your mind, as 
relaxation technique, 

230-23 1 

Quinn, Celia, as case of life 
changed by Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 297-299 

R 

Rational thinking, power of, 
82-100 

Reagan, Ronald, as The Great 
Communicator, 2 1 1 
Recalibration, defined, 164-164 
Reddick, Marshall, as case of life 
changed by Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 299-300 
Reeve, Christopher, as example 
of high AQ, 152 
Relaxation: 

as immunization against hurt, 
192-193 

as psychic screen or tranquil- 
izer, 229 

Resentment, as warning sign of' 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 171-175 
Responsibility: 

for own happiness, 124-125 
as immunization against hurt, 
190-191 

Retirement, 292-293 
Revelation front Within: A Book 
of Self-Esteem (Steinhem), 
40 

Reynolds, Quentin, 48 
Rhine, Dr.J. B., 35, 105 
Riley, Pat, as beneficiary of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 20 
Robbins, Tony, 264 


Robert, Cavett, 255 
Robinson Crusoe (Defoe), 128 
Rollins, Linda Tyler, as benefici- 
ary of Psycho-Cybernetics, 
19 

Root-Bernstein, Michele, 38 
Root-Bernstein, Robert, 38 
Roth, Charles B., 55 
Rudeness, as carry-over from 
stress, 234-235 
Russell, Bertrand, 

87-88, 105,257 
influence of, on Dan 
Kennedy, 104 

Russel, Mr., as example self- 
hypnosis, 72-74 


S 

Saber scar, as mark of honor, 
9-10 

Sacrifice, need for, to be happy, 
128 

Safety valves, to let out emo- 
tional steam, 162-163 
St. Bernard, 193 
St. Paul, 165 

Sales professionals, as beneficiar- 
ies of Psycho-Cybernetics, 
21-22 

Sanders, Jeanne, as case of life 
changed by Psycho- 
Cybernetics, 303-306 
Savoi, Jane, as beneficiary of 
Psycho-Cybernetics, 62 
Schindler, Dr. John, 288 
Schnabel, Arthur, 58 
Schultz, Howard, 28 
Schwab, Charles, 43 
Schwarzkopf, Norman, 141 
Secret Power Within You, The 
(Norris), 128 

Secrets of Closing the Sale (Ziglar), 
2 1 

Secrets of Swcessfitl Selling 
(Murphy), 7 1 

Self: 

discovery of, 1-2, 64-66 
finding your best, 63-64 
new mental picture of, 39-40 
Self-acceptance: 

need for, to achieve success, 
147-149 

versus self-rejection, 150-151 
Self-consciousness, 211-212 


need to increase, 213-215 
Self Consistency: A Theory of 
Personality (Lecky), 7, 254 
Self-criticism, effect of, on 
personality, 207-208 
Self-expression: 

not a moral issue, 219-220 
and shadow-boxing, 249 
Self-fulfilling prophecy, in 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 159 
Self-image: 
and Automatic 
Success/Failure 
Mechanism, 16 
best kind, 295-296 
as a blueprint, 2-3 
changing, to achieve success, 
148, 184 

as determining factor in 
failure or success, 11-12 
effect of, on behavior, 3,4, 11 
effect on, of Creative 
Mechanism, 18 
effect on, of resentment, 
172-172 

healthy, as immunization 
a ga inst hurt, 188-189 
how it works, 5 
and Jennifer Capriati, 215-216 
need for new, 135 
and plastic surgery, 8-9, 12 
psychology of, 7-9 
as reasonable approximation 
of “you,” 12 

as term originated by Maltz, 
xiii 

Self-reliance, as immunization 
against hurt, 190-191 
Selye, Dr. Hans, 281, 283-284 
Servo-mechanisms: 

Creative Mechanism as, 15 
and tele-logical results, 261 
types of, 30-31 
Shadow-boxing: 

application of, to sports, 
250-251 

application of, to sales, 251 
and self-expression, 249 
for stability, 248-249 
Shapiro, Dr. Alan, 95 
Sharlip, Dr. Ira, 238 
Shaw, George Bernard, 120 
Siegel, Dr. Bernie, 118 
Sinatra, Frank, 259 
Six Pillars of Self-Esteem 
(Branden), 217 



322 Index 


Slaughter, Dr. Frank G., 296 
Snap-back effect, 3-4 
Sparks of Genius (Root- 
Bernstein), 38 
Spitalni, Dr. Gloria, 19-20 
State and Main (Mamet), 125 
Steinheim, Gloria, 40 
Stevenson, Robert Louis, 121 
Stewart, Dugold, 27 
Stewart, Payne, as beneficiary 
of Psycho-Cybernetics, 

19 

Stockton, David, as beneficiary 
of Psycho-Cybernetics, 60 
Stoltz, Dr. Paul, 151-152 
Stuttering, as demonstration of 
inhibition, 206-207 
Straw men, need to stop 
fighting, 240 
Stress, 101-102 
Stressless success, 115-116 
Stress of Life, The (Selye), 283 
Substitution method for 

controlling worry, 276-277 
Success: 

from the inside out, 5-6 
as no guarantee of happiness, 
11 

Success {continued) 

attained through Creative 
Mechanism, 18 

Success Is an Inside Job (Milteer), 
127 

Success Mechanism, see 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism; Automatic 
Success Mechanism 
Success patterns, playing back, 
272 

Success-type personality, 
134-154 

Sugarman, Joseph, 170 
Suits, C. G., 105 
Sullivan, John L., 248 


T 

Talented Mr. Ripley, The, 147 


Taylor, Elizabeth, as example of 
high AQ, 152 

Tarkenton, Fran, and role of 
genetics in success, 23 
Tele-logical results, defined, 261 
Theater of Your Mind, 

106, 131, 164 
defined, 66 

role of, in success and failure, 
271 

Think And Grow Rich (Hill), 103 
Think Outside the Box (Vance), 
28,97 

Thoreau, Henry David, 25 
Thoughts: 

effect of, on aging, 287-288 
effect of, organically, 286-287 
Tlllotson, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, 195 
Toastmasters International, as 
example of right balance of 
corrective feedback, 
208-209 

Tolman, Dr. Edward C., 246 
Tranquilizers, use of, 224-225 
Truman, Harry, 191, 230 
Trump, Donald, 151 
Truth about self, discovering, 
64-66 

Tunney, Gene, 248 
Tyson, Mike, 246 

b 

Ugliness, imaginary, mystery of, 
10-11 

Unburdening parable, 153-154 
Uncertainty, as warning sign of 
Automatic Failure 
Mechanism, 168-171 
Understanding, need for in 
success-type personality, 
137-139 

V 

Vacation, taking a little every 
day, 232 

Vance, Michael, 28, 97 


Vandll, R. A., 53 
Ventura, Jesse, 216 

Y 

“You are not your mistakes,” 

' 198-200 

You, as a personality, 78-79 
You ’ re Working Too Hard to Make 
a Living (Brooks), 2 1 
Youth, secret of, 284-285 

W 

Wake Up and Live (Brande), 86 
Wealth, as no guarantee of 
happiness, 1 1 
Weiner, David, 16, 47 
Weiner, Dr. Norbert, 

25, 3 1, 34, 35, 37, 102 
Why Be Tired ? Qosselyn), 94 
Williams, Arthur, as example of 
taking responsibility for 
own happiness, 125-126 
Will to Live, The (Hutschnecker), 
291 

Wiggam, Dr. Albert Edward, 

213 

Winning feeling, getting and 
keeping, 261-279 
scientific explanation for, 
268-269 

Wood, Tiger, and role of 
genetics in success, 23 
Worcester, Dr. Elwood, 129 
Worry: 

positive and constructive, 
272-273 

substitution method for con- 
trolling, 276-277 
Wright, Frank Lloyd, and role of 
genetics in success, 22 

Z 

Zero Resistance Selling, 57, 90, 

245 

Ziglar, Zig, 21, 182